Brazil was hit with tragedy on Thursday as 11 students at a Brazilian school were killed in a shooting.
The massacre could have been much worse if it hadn't been for the heroic actions of a military policeman, according to a statement from the Rio de Janeiro state governor's office.
Third Sgt. Marcio Alexandre Alves, 38, and a colleague raced to the Municipal School Tasso da Silveira in Realengo after they were approached by a student two blocks away from the school, who asked them for help, the governor's office said.
According to the statement, upon arriving at the school, Alves heard gunshots and quickly climbed to the second floor. There, he confronted the heavily armed gunman coming out of a classroom, keeping the suspect from ascending to the third floor, where there were more students.
Alves said he shot the gunman in the abdomen. When the suspect fell, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, according to the statement. At that point, Alves looked for a second suspect he had heard was in the building, but that information turned out to be unfounded, the governor's office said.
Beyond the 11 students killed, another 13 were injured, four of whom were in critical condition, Rio Health Secretary Sergio Cortes said.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those lives lost and those injured. And we commend Alves for his heroism.
(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)