PSP “unaware” that “cake-promotion killer” had arsenal of deadly weapons

Days after a former reserve army sergeant appeared in court charged with shooting a café owner to death – allegedly over a two-for-one cake promotion – the PSP has highlighted the fact that there is no law allowing them to remove firearms from military personnel known to have psychiatric disorders.

As Diário de Notícias explains, the PSP actually tried to get the military statute on this very point changed as recently as a month ago, but the law awaiting the President’s stamp still does not allow for it.

Military personnel are allowed “to keep, use and carry a gun of any nature, without a licence” unless their own superiors rule otherwise. Thus when reserve army sergeant João Gonçalves walked into the Lua de Mel café in Benfica, Lisbon, and shot grandfather-to-be Manuel João Martins over a long-term feud over a bola de Berlim (cream-filled doughnut) the PSP had no idea of his arsenal of over 30 firearms at home, nor of his psychiatric disorder.

According to press reports, Gonçalves believed the doughnut – purchased and consumed last year – had been “poisoned”.

He is described by other newspapers as having “had it in for Martins” since then.

Last Monday came the final straw – in the form of a “two-for-one” cake promotion which was only due to begin 20 minutes after Gonçalves entered the Lua de Mel café.

Martins’ explanation that Gonçalves “would have to wait” is understood to have pushed the military man over the edge, leaving Martins’ in a pool of blood as Gonçalves then made off at high speed in his car.

It was only as PSP police mounted their search that they discovered the writing had been on the wall for years, and that Gonçalves had previous convictions for violent assault, including a four-year suspended prison sentence. They have now, finally, apprehended Gonçalves’ cache of weapons as the 49-year-old is remanded in custody pending medical reports.