Rio’s reputation for violent is a cause for concern as the games get underway and the United States has warned its citizens about the risks of venturing into crime-ridden shanty towns known as favelas.
The Russian vice-consul in Rio de Janeiro dramatically shot dead an armed mugger who had tried to hold him up in his car – just after the Olympic torch relay had passed by on the last day before the Rio 2016 opening ceremony.
Marcos Cesar Feres Braga, a Brazilian lawyer who holds the vice-consul post at the Russian consulate, reportedly grabbed the attacker who was with an accomplice and pulled him into his BMW X6 after he had smashed the car window and pointed a gun at him, demanding he hand over his watch.
The robber picked the wrong target. Mr Braga who was travelling with his wife and daughter at the time is trained in the Brazilian martial art of Jiu-Jitsu and those skills came in handy.
In the ensuing scuffle, the diplomat dragged the robber into his car, wrestled the gun off him and shot him dead at pointblank range.
His accomplice promptly fled the scene after his partner’s death.
The body of the mugger, named as Leonardo Lopes Batista, which lay for several hours on the road as police underwent investigations, was seen by various Olympic delegations which passed by on the special Olympic lanes close to the crime scene.
But the Russian General Consul in Rio has denied any diplomat was involved in the shooting.
‘Brazilian media reports that a Russian diplomat was allegedly involved in an incident that led to the death of a Brazilian national during an armed attack is not true,’ Vladimir Tokmakov said.
‘All Russian diplomats and personnel of Russian foreign institutions located in Rio de Janeiro are safe and sound and are of no relation to the aforesaid incident.
‘The man who was involved in the incident could have presented himself as a general consulate employee.’
In a statement, Rio’s 31st Military Police Battalion, which investigated the incident, said Braga ‘acted quickly pulling the criminal inside the car, took his revolver and fired it towards him.’
Rio’s Homicide Police Station said investigators were still at the crime scene, more than five hours following the shooting.
A spokesman said: ‘The man involved is a lawyer and also the vice-consul of Russia. He is Brazilian and a native of Rio de Janeiro.
‘He is not part of or has any relation with the Olympic committee of Russia which is in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics.’