Brazilian Pastor Shot Dead in Front of Church

A Brazilian pastor was fatally-wounded in a shooting Sunday in front of his church in Campo Grande city, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Hegnaldo da Silva Viana, age 44, was shot twice in the neck.

Witnesses reported an unidentfied man briefly arguing with the pastor before gunshots were heard. Viana's family expressed shock, vowing to identify the alleged shooter.

"It was the most horrific scene I have ever seen in my life," said Viana's aunt Rosa Maria Batista da Silva, 52, to Brazilian publication, Extra Globo.

"When I ran to the balcony, I saw Hegnaldo lying in a pool of blood."

According to sources, the male suspect resided in the neighborhood near the Evangelical Community Church of God, where Viana had ministered for four years. Last Christmas Eve, the man had reportedly complained to the pastor about the church's noise level. Sources at the time said the suspect threatened him, leading the pastor to file a report to the local police.

The case is currently under investigation by the Homicide Division in Barra da Tijuca. The Christian Post tried contacting the Delegate Director of the division for an interview, but is still awaiting a reply.

This is not the first time Brazilian churches have received noise level complaints – though such occasions rarely result in violence.

However, in 2007, an 18-year-old male fired a weapon at the Assembly of God church in the Brazilian state of Parana. Previously, the perpetrator had complained about the church's noise level. Fortunately, the church was empty at the time, and no injuries were reported.

Prior to his death, Viana had resided on the second level in the church building.