Bullet That Entered Olympic Games Equestrian Venue Apparently Intended For Police Blimp

Aug 7, 2016 - 3:02 PM
The police blimp is visible above the main stadium at Deodoro and from the cross-country course. Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Rio de Janeiro—Aug. 7

Director of Communications for the Rio Olympic Games Mario Andrada issued an update on the bullet that entered the media center yesterday, Aug. 6, at the Olympic Games Equestrian Venue at the National Equestrian Center in Rio de Janeiro.

According to Minister of Defense Raul Jungmann, the stray bullet that landed was fired from a favela and was intended to shoot down a police blimp. The blimp, visible in the sky from the National Equestrian Center, was installed before the start of the Olympic Games to assist with security for the Games. Andrada implied that the blimp was targeted because its cameras could pick up illegal activity within favelas.

“He described that it had low energy and low speed in a parabolic trajectory,” said Andrade.

Andrada re-emphasized that the Olympic Games themselves were not the target of the bullet, but rather the blimp. He said that the investigators have kept all information about which favela the shot came from, whether any arrests have been made and the the type of weapon it came from confidential until the police had acted on it.

Andrada also said that security teams are looking into reports of loud noises which have been audible during the first two days of eventing dressage (and the very press conference in which he was speaking)—be they gunshots, fireworks, or something else. He had no information on whether the military were conducting live fire exercises nearby.

The National Equestrian Venue, where the horse sports are taking place, are located in the Deodoro area of the North Zone of Rio, which is a military zone filled with barracks and training areas.   

“Our first goal is to protect you, the second is to keep you informed,” said Andrada.

“Favelas” are slums located in urban areas in Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro close to 1,500,000 people—around 23 percent of the population—live in favelas. Favelas are often a hotbed for drug trafficking and other illegal activity, but are also vibrant communities full of low- and middle-class residents.

Mollie Bailey and Lindsay Berreth are on the ground in Rio de Janeiro for the Chronicle and will be reporting with all the news, fantastic photos and behind-the-scenes details all posted on www.coth.com. Your go-to page for all things Olympic is http://www.chronofhorse.com/2016-Olympics

We’ll have live blogs of competition sessions, Twitter updates, blogs, photo galleries, stories about each day’s competition and so much more. Don’t miss a thing—we’ll have everything you need to know. Also make sure to follow along on the Chronicle’s social media outlets: FacebookTwitterInstagram and Snapchat (@chronofhorse).

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