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Police incensed by investigations of brutality and corruption by "bad" cops may have carried out a massacre in two impoverished suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, killing 27 people, state officials said Friday.

Another victim was left brain dead in Thursday's onslaught in Nova Iguacu and Queimados, crime-infested suburbs 20 miles northwest of Rio, said Claudia Guerreiro, a spokeswoman for the Rio Public Safety Department.

In Queimados, gunmen mowed down 12 people, some in Bible Square and others in front of a car wash, she said. In nearby Nova Iguacu, they killed 15 people at a bar, she said. "There are strong indications that the massacres could have been a reprisal . . . for the arrest of eight police officers suspected of killing two men in a police station" earlier this week, Guerreiro said.

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