Three days after allegedly gunning down a café owner over a two-for-one cake promotion, reserve army sergeant João Gonçalves is expected to appear in court today (Thursday). According to news reports, it is very likely that his defence will plead insanity.
Gonçalves is understood to have been identified by as many as 12 witnesses on Wednesday as the man who shot to death the owner of the Lua de Mel café in Benfica on Monday night.
At first, national tabloid Correio da Manhã described the motive for killing as Gonçalves “feeling cheated” over the café’s cake promotion – for which he had turned up 20 minutes early.
But now it appears the issue goes back to the year before and centres on a “bola de berlim” (a cream-filled doughnut).
According to CM, 49-year-old Gonçalves complained that after he ate the doughnut, he had suffered “clicking in the brain”.
On “psychiatric” leave from work, Gonçalves is understood to have amassed a “war arsenal” of at least 30 rifles and pistols. CM explains that “members of the military are allowed by law to acquire unlimited firearms”.
Thus, Gonçalves is known to have “walked the streets armed” – despite the fact that he had a criminal record for violence including a four-year jail sentence, suspended, for an attack on a man.
This latest incident in which grandfather-to-be Manuel João Martins was gunned down after explaining to Gonçalves that he would have to wait 20 minutes for the “two-for-one” cake promotion to come into effect ended with Gonçalves making off at high speed in his car as his victim lay dying behind the café counter.
Police caught up with him 24 hours later, and that is when they are understood to have found Gonçalves’ horde of weaponry.
According to locals interviewed after the murder, Gonçalves lived alone, and has “never been the same” since the death of his son.
Meantime, CM reports that the Lua de Mel café has reopened for business “with bloodstains still visible” on the floor.