Two armed robbers, reportedly illegal Brazilian immigrants, who held a pair of hostages for around eight hours, were shot by GOE marksmen in a Banco Espírito Santo (BES) branch at 72 Rua Marquês de Fronteira, Campolide near the centre of the capital on August 14, 2008. The two men first held six hostages and the situation escalated when the pinned guns to the heads of two bank employees as they moved towards the exit of the bank in a bid to get into a getaway vehicle parked outside the bank.
That was the moment when Grupo de Operações Especiais – GOE sniper were given the order to shoot the assailants. One of the robbers died on scene while the other was taken to the hospital. In the second when he assailants were shot by police snipers, the two captives fled from the bank to safety. Both hostages were unhurt but shaken after their ordeal.
In total, three shots were fired, two by the GOE officers and a third by the surviving robber, who fired his gun into the air as he fell after being shot. However, one of the hostages said this week she was surprised and somewhat dismayed that no psychological assistance had been provided for her.
Robber Nilton Sousa was shot dead while holding a sack containing the money in one hand and a gun with the other. He was killed with a single sniper shot by Grupo de Operações Especiais marksmen. The other robber suffered a bullet wound to the cheek. The wounded hostage-taker, Wellington Nazaré, was taken to Lisbon’s São José Hospital in handcuffs where after surgery he tried to escape, but his escape was stopped.
In taking their decisive and deadly action to terminate the hostage situation, Portugal’s Public Security Police (PSP) acted with “competence, dedication and heroism,” Lisbon’s minister stated. It later emerged that the minister himself had given the “shoot-to-kill” order once negotiations with the would-be robbers, who had a bag containing €98,000, broke down.
The wounded robber, Wellington Nazaré spent some time in Portugal prison after he recovered and then was deported to Brasil.