Pigeon racer shoots dead three rivals and then kills himself following dispute among the group
- According to local media, the argument centered on an illegal vegetable garden
- Police commissioner Andreia Gonçalves described it as an ‘isolated situation’
A pigeon racer shot dead three rivals before killing himself following a dispute among the group, police in Portugal say.
Cops say the attacker, named as 60-year-old Cesario, had fatally shot the others before turning the gun on himself following a row in the city of Setubal, south of Lisbon.
The city’s police commissioner, Andreia Gonçalves described the deaths on Sunday as an ‘isolated situation’ linked to an unresolved issue between the men, who were aged 30 to 60.
The four dead individuals had been participating in a pigeon race, waiting for three of the trained homing birds to return, and their disagreement also centered on an illegal vegetable garden.
Portuguese daily newspaper Correio da Manha reports that Cesario, an unemployed former school security guard, used a hunting rifle to murder the three men.
The four dead individuals had been participating in a pigeon race, waiting for three of the trained homing birds to return
He then reportedly pulled the trigger on himself as police arrived on the scene.
The paper names the three victims as Rui Duarte, 47, and Mario Lucio, 65, from the Afonso Costa neighbourhood, along with Alberto Almeida, 66.
Almeida had been president of the local pigeon racing district association, as well as secretary.
Cesario lived in a shack next to the pair’s pigeon coops and grew angry when they complained about the noise his three dogs were making.
According to Portugal Resident, the bodies have been taken for autopsies.
Portugal has restrictive gun laws but firearms are legal for hunting. Of the 80 or so annual homicides that Portugal has registered on average since 2015, around a fifth are committed with firearms, according to police statistics.
Helder Galveia, who knew Alberto and Mario, told local media that one of the men ‘was always calling attention to the noise and saying that the dogs were always loose’.
He said: ‘The person who fired the shots was a man who used to walk the streets of the city, picking up litter or parking cars, and had previously had conflicts with other people.
‘He lived in the garden next to the pigeon lofts.’
Helder added: ‘Alberto Almeida and Mario Lucio Andorinha were very involved in pigeon racing and in collective cooperation.
‘Alberto was the president of the local association and was known for solving all the pigeon fanciers’ problems. He worked for the association for many years.
‘It’s a huge loss. Both were good and peaceful people.’
Pigeon racing is the sport of releasing specially trained homing pigeons, which then return to their homes over a carefully measured distance.
The time it takes the animal to cover the specified distance is measured and the bird’s rate of travel is calculated and compared with all of the other pigeons in the race to determine which animal returned at the highest speed.
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