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 center of the capital on August 14, 2008. The two men first held six hostages, and the situation escalated when they pinned guns to the heads of two bank employees as they moved towards the bank’s exit 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 robber died on the scene, while the other was hospitalized. In the second, when police snipers shot the assailants, the two captives fled from the bank to safety. Both hostages were unhurt but shaken after their ordeal.
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 she was surprised and somewhat dismayed this week 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 in 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.