“Help me! My father has just killed all my family!” These were the desperate cries of 16-year-old Joel Silva as he staggered into the street in Estela, Póvoa de Varzim, after his father Paulo had gunned down four people in a hail of bullets.
Joel’s mother, Sílvia, 42, her parents Maria de Fátima and Domingos and her elder son Renato, 23, all lay dead in the family’s café S.Tomé.
Another horrific case apparently powered by marital strife and the threat of bankruptcy, this one ended in Valença after 50-year-old Paulo skidded out of control hitting two other cars in an alleged bid for escape to Spain.
Taking up the story, newspapers have suggested Paulo Silva was “obsessed” with his ex-wife and embroiled in a dispute over the ownership of some land.
His father-in-law Domingos is understood to have already filed a criminal complaint against Silva, who told authorities when they caught up with him: “I wanted to kill them all.”
But by sheer fluke, his youngest child, nine-year-old Inês, missed the massacre due to an early start at school.
Tragically, the horror came from a horrific past in which Paulo Silva allegedly saw his own father kill his mother, in Lisbon, 30 years ago.
According to Correio da Manhã, Silva’s father cut his dead wife in pieces and placed “various body parts” in a chicken coop.
“He was condemned to 25 years in jail,” writes the paper.
Now it is his son in custody for taking the lives of four former family members in an apparent explosion of rage.
An eye-witness told CM how he saw Silva “come out of the café, and put his hands on his head”.
“I went in and Renato and Maria were dead by the counter. Sílvia had tried to crawl home and was dead in the corridor” and Domingos was later found shot to death in the cellar.
In all, Silva is understood to have fired 14 shots before making his escape.
The terrible event has left a community in shock and the father of Renato, Agostinho Alves, in “absolute despair”.
He had apparently warned his son that his step-father was “a danger” but the young man had assured him that everything was fine, and that the pair had a good relationship.
As locals come to grips with what played out on what should have been a “normal Tuesday morning”, the president of Estela parish council told reporters they would be “looking after Joel and his sister” and making sure they were fully supported.