8 killed in Brazil school shooting, 2 suspects dead
Updated 11:35, 14-Mar-2019
CGTN
00:59

Eight people were shot dead at a high school in Suzano, near Sao Paulo, on Wednesday after two former pupils wielding guns opened fire at staff and students.

Before the police arrived, they turned the weapons on themselves. 

Among the victims, all of whom died of gunshot wounds, were two members of staff and at least five teenagers, mostly 15 and 16 years old, according to local police.

A student from the Raul Brasil school after a shooting in Suzano, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, March 13, 2019. /VCG Photo

A student from the Raul Brasil school after a shooting in Suzano, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, March 13, 2019. /VCG Photo

Nine more people were injured in the shooting and Sao Paulo State Governor Joao Doria called it "the saddest thing" he's ever seen.

The two assailants stormed into the school in the early morning, armed with a .38 caliber revolver, along with knives. After shooting at students in the yard, they headed to the language center where they killed themselves in the corridor.

Police identified the assailants as Guilherme Taucci Monteiro, 17, and Luiz Henrique de Castro, 25.

According to an unnamed investigator quoted by media, the two assailants spent more than a year planning their attack, which was inspired by the 1999 Columbine massacre in the United States.

It is not yet clear why the two gunmen attacked the school in a middle-class neighborhood, which has about 1,000 children aged 11-16.

Policemen at the Raul Brasil school after a shooting in Suzano, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, March 13, 2019. /VCG Photo

Policemen at the Raul Brasil school after a shooting in Suzano, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, March 13, 2019. /VCG Photo

School shootings are rare in Brazil where gun laws were extremely strict until last year when far-right President Jair Bolsonaro relaxed gun control.

Wednesday's shooting ignited debate over whether Bolsonaro's measures were to blame for the attack. 

(with input from agencies)