Police shoot out in Lagos

POLICE WERE forced to shoot dead a 35-year-old man in Lagos earlier this week, after he threatened to shoot a bar doorman and opened fire in a tourist area, posing a serious threat to public safety.

The man, Marcelino Conceição Silvestre, was a gypsy who had been living in a camp close to Lagos municipal stadium.

Police were called on Monday, at 1.30am, to the Jay Jay Bar in Rua Crisóstomo Santos, after it was reported that a man had pointed a pistol at the head of the bar’s doorman. Three policemen arrived in a patrol car and, after confronting the gypsy and asking him to put down his weapon, they were taken by surprise when the man chose to open fire.

Shots were fired directly at the police in the street outside the bar, located just a short distance from the Tivoli Hotel, and it was only luck that prevented the police and passers-by from being hit by one of the bullets. Faced with such a situation, the police had no choice but to fire back and the man was shot in the throat. The injury sustained by the gypsy was clearly serious and, although an ambulance was immediately called to the scene, the man could not be saved.

The gypsy was in possession of an illegal high calibre gun and was seen carrying it by others drinking at the bar. He was apparently teasing the doorman by pulling the trigger when the gunlock was on.

Family camp outside morgue

The family of Marcelino camped outside the morgue of the Barlavento Hospital in Portimão and vowed to stay there until the funeral. The autopsy was expected to reveal that Marcelino died of one bullet wound to the throat, although several shots were fired by police in response to those fired by the gypsy. Evidence of the shoot out in the Lagos street is clear, with several walls and houses bearing bullet marks.

Neighbours and tourists alarmed

The shoot out in downtown Lagos has deeply shocked those living close to the Jay Jay Bar and the many tourists who were walking in nearby streets at the time of the incident.

Residents in Rua Crisóstomo Santos peered incredulously through their windows at the spectacle, while others hid in fear behind their front doors.

Gypsy may have been market stallholder

Police had raided Lagos market just hours before the incident took place, searching for counterfeit clothing and an unnamed source has stated that the gypsy was a stallholder at the market.

Problems at gypsy camp in Olhão

It seems it is not only Lagos that is experiencing problems with armed gypsies. Last Thursday, a shoot out took place at a gypsy camp in the residential area of Chasfa in Olhão, although fortunately on this occasion there were no victims. The incident did, however, cause panic among nearby homeowners. According to residents living in the area, it is rare for a day to go by without them hearing the sound of gunfire coming from the camp.