Rio police identify suspect of attack on Netflix filmmakers

Entertainment

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Police in Rio de Janeiro have identified one of the people responsible for a gasoline bomb attack targeting satirists behind a Christmas program on Netflix that some critics have described as blasphemous.

The 41-year-old businessman, named Eduardo Fauzi Richard Cerquise, has a “violent profile” and remains at large, according to Marco Aurélio de Paula Ribeiro, the detective in charge of the investigation. Police had a warrant for Cerquise’s arrest on Tuesday but were unable to locate him.

Officers carried out a search in two homes and two offices and seized cash worth about 30,000 dollars, a fake firearm, ammunition, a “political-philosophical” shirt and computers, Ribeiro told reporters at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Cerquise was convicted this year for assaulting a civil servant in 2013 and has also been accused of domestic violence, authorities said.

The Christmas Eve attack on an empty video production house didn’t injure anyone but came as a shock even in a country accustomed to violence. A video circulating days later on social media showed three men claiming responsibility for the attack, and said they had targeted Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos for its Portuguese-language program.

The comedy group’s short film, The First Temptation of Christ, depicts Jesus returning home on his 30th birthday and insinuates he is gay. Religious groups bristled at the depiction. Creators of the film have defended it as legitimate freedom of expression.

Police surveyed about 50 security cameras near the scene of the crime, and found Cerquise ditched his car and walked several blocks without a mask before hailing a taxi, authorities said. Police questioned the taxi driver, who recognized the suspect.

At least five people were present at the moment of the attack, though only Cerquise has been identified so far.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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