Morumbi Shopping shooting

On November 3, 1999, a mass murder occurred inside a movie theater room at the Morumbi shopping mall in São Paulo, Brazil. The perpetrator, Mateus da Costa Meira, then a 24-year-old medical student, killed three people who were in the room and injured other four.[1]

Morumbi Shopping shooting
Aerial view of Morumbi Shopping, where the shooting took place
Morumbi Shopping, where the shooting took place
LocationAvenida Roque Petroni Júnior, 1089,
Vila Cordeiro, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Coordinates23°37′24″S 46°41′56″W / 23.6234°S 46.6989°W / -23.6234; -46.6989
DateNovember 3, 1999; 24 years ago (1999-11-03)
c. 10:25 p.m. (UTC-3)
TargetVisitors at the theater
Attack type
Mass murder, arson
WeaponsMAC-11 submachine gun, 9mm
PerpetratorsMateus da Costa Meira
DefenderDomingo Arjones

Meira was initially sentenced to a 120-year imprisonment, a term that was later reduced to 48 years.[1] After he attempted to kill another prison inmate, it was determined in 2011 that he had to be moved to a psychiatric hospital, where he remains to this day.[2][relevant?] He is known in Brazil as the "shopping mall shooter" or the "cinema shooter".[not verified in body] The screen in which the shooting occurred was permanently closed.[not verified in body] The cinema closed its three remaining screens in 2012,[3] freeing up space for new stores at the mall.[not verified in body]

Perpetrator's background edit

Mateus da Costa Meira
Mateus da Costa Meira

(1975-04-04) April 4, 1975 (age 49)
Criminal statusIncarcerated
MotiveMental issues
Conviction(s)First-degree murder
Criminal penaltyOriginally sentenced to 120 years in prison, later reduced to 48 years on appeal
VictimsFabiana Lobão Freitas, Júlio Maurício Zemaitis and Hermè Luisa Jatobá Vadasz
DateNovember 3, 1999
State(s)São Paulo
Location(s)São Paulo
Imprisoned atHospital of Treatment and Custody (HCT), Salvador, Bahia

In November 1999, Mateus da Costa Meira (born April 4, 1975) lived alone in an apartment in São Paulo and studied medicine at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of São Paulo's Holy House (FCMSCSP), a well-regarded institution; he was in his sixth and last year, only 15 days from graduating.[1]

His wealthy family (including his father, a doctor) lived in Salvador, his hometown,[1] and Mateus regularly received money from his parents in order to live a comfortable life. He played "violent" video games (particularly Duke Nukem 3D) and owned a vast collection of illegally-copied software. He was known to send viruses and pornography to users of internet provider Magiclink in Salvador since January 1997.[1]

He was described as shy, introverted and apathetic and had a poor academic performance. He has schizoid personality disorder. After refusing to do mandatory work at the medical school, he was sent to the institution's psychology division.[1] By other sources, however, he was described as a gentle, calm person who changed his personality months before the attack and started to skip classes and get closer to drug traffickers.[4]

Prior to the massacre, he already owned a pistol, but chose to obtain a more powerful weapon: a MAC-11 submachine gun, which he acquired illegally from Marcos Paulo Almeida dos Santos for R$ 5,000. Meira said he employed Santos as a driver since he did not know how to drive the mechanic car his insurance company gave him following a crash that destroyed his automatic Chrysler Neon.[5]

The police investigated him for two additional crimes: drug possession and CD falsification. In his apartment, they found equipment for CD piracy, cocaine, crack and ammo.[1]

Meira told the police that he had been planning the attack for seven years and that he chose Fight Club because the main character suffers from schizophrenia.[1]

The crime edit

Meira entered room number 5 of the movie theater at Morumbi Shopping at around 10:10 p.m. on November 3, 1999, approximately 55 minutes after the movie, Fight Club, had started.[1] He watched the movie for 15 minutes and then went to the toilet, where he shot the mirror with his submachine gun. Back in the theater room, he stood in front of the screen and shot to the ceiling, but that did not scare viewers since they believed it was an effect from the movie.[1] He then shot against one of the walls, causing frightened viewers to hide behind seats. He subsequently aimed and shot at a group of people,[4] three of whom died. As he tried to reload the gun, a group of viewers subdued and stopped him.[1] The shooting lasted about 3 minutes.

Casualties edit

One victim died at the scene and two more in local hospitals.

  • Hermè Luisa Jatobá Vadasz, 46 years old, an employee at the Young & Rubican publicity agency. Her heart was donated to a patient at a local public hospital.[1][4]
  • Fabiana Lobão Freitas, 25 years old, photographer who worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo. She was watching the film with her boyfriend, film producer Carlos Eduardo Porto de Oliveira (26 years old), who was injured in the shootout.[1][4]
  • Júlio Maurício Zemaitis, 29 years old, economist.[1][4]

Trial and sentence edit

Caught in the act, Meira was sentenced to 120+12 years in prison. His defenders alleged that he was only semi-imputable because of his mental issues.[6] His sentence was later reduced to 48 years and 9 months by the State Court of São Paulo.[4]

He stayed at Carandiru Penitentiary until its deactivation in 2002 and was then moved to a penitentiary in Tremembé.[4] Later, in 2009, he was moved to a penitentiary in Salvador, his home town, following requests by his family.[4]

On May 8, 2009, Meira tried to kill a cellmate, the 68-year-old Spaniard Francisco Vidal Lopes, with scissors, apparently because the television's volume was too loud.[2] He was put on trial but absolved later in 2011 since he was not considered imputable anymore due to his mental diagnosis. It was decided that he had to be moved to the Hospital of Treatment and Custody (HCT) in Salvador, where he remains to this day.[4]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Veja cronologia do caso que envolve o "atirador do shopping" Folha de S. Paulo
  2. ^ a b "Atirador do shopping" tenta matar colega de cela em Salvador (BA), diz secretaria Folha de S.Paulo
  3. ^ "Após cinco anos, Cine TAM fecha as portas em SP". Retrieved 2016-08-21.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Souza, Percival de (8 September 2017). "O atirador que causou terror num cinema de São Paulo". R7 (in Portuguese). Grupo Record. Archived from the original on 2017-09-25. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Prefeitura interdita cinemas do MorumbiShopping". Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese). Grupo Folha. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  6. ^ Justiça de SP condena "atirador do shopping" a 120 anos de prisão Folha de S.Paulo