Shasta Darlington – CNN, 11/25/2012
Marta Umbelina pulled up in front of her house with her 11-year-old daughter. When she stepped out of the car, she was shot 10 times in the back.
Umbelina was an office worker at Sao Paulo’s Military Police Northern Command — and she is one of nearly 100 cops murdered in Sao Paulo this year, roughly 50 percent higher than 2011.
Most were ambushed while off duty, part of a deadly battle between police and Brazil’s biggest criminal gang, the First Command of the Capital or PCC by its Portuguese acronym.
“Marta was my friend, my colleague, she knew everything about me,” said Simone Mello, a police officer who worked with Marta at a desk job.
“Why her? Why Marta? We’re just very sad,” she said.
In a bid to rein in the PCC, Sao Paulo launched Operation Saturation at the end of October.
The government sent at least 500 police troops into the city’s biggest shantytown Paraisopolis, or Paradise City.
They arrested dozens of alleged gang leaders, confiscated arms and drugs and even found a list with the names and addresses of 40 military police on it.
But police aren’t the only casualties in this escalating war.
The number of homicides in Sao Paulo has jumped to almost 1,000 so far this year, largely concentrated in favelas or slums. For January to October 2011 there were 869 homicides, according to Sao Paulo government figures.