Crowd outside of Rio de Janeiro school (property of CNN)
RIO DE JANEIRO — A gunman opened fire Thursday in a public elementary school in Rio de Janeiro, killing at least 11 children before taking his own life, officials said.
The victims were 10 girls between the ages of 12 and 14 and one boy, the O Globo news website in Rio de Janeiro reported. The gunman, identified as Wellington Menezes de Oliveira, was a 23-year-old former student at the school. O Globo reported the gunman was shot by police in the leg and then killed himself with a shot to the head.
Officials told O Globo that 18 children were hospitalized after Thursday's shooting.
The man left a letter explaining his actions, O Globo said, including a reference that he had contracted the AIDS virus. Other details were not immediately available.
Terrified parents rushed to the school and television images showed them crying and screaming for information about their children. The number of victims changed during the course of the day but police now say 11 children died.