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Ex-pupil shoots 12 children in school

A gunman roamed the halls of a school in Rio de Janeiro and killed 12 children, lining them up against a wall and shooting them in the head at point-blank range as he shouted, "I'm going to kill you all!"

The death toll would have been higher if the gunman had not been shot in the legs by a police officer, who said the man then fell down some stairs and shot himself in the head.

Mobile phone pictures showed students fleeing wildly, screaming for help, many with their white and blue school shirts soaked in blood.

The dead included 10 girls and two boys, plus the gunman. Those killed were between the ages of 12 and 15.

The gunman was identified as 24-year-old Wellington Oliveira, who had once attended the Tasso da Silveira school in a working-class neighbourhood in western Rio.

No motive was known, but authorities said the shooter left a rambling and mostly incoherent letter at the scene indicating he wanted to kill himself.

The letter also explained in detail how Oliveira wanted his corpse to be cared for -- bathed and wrapped in a white sheet.

It ordered that no one "impure" should touch his corpse unless they were wearing gloves and said he should be buried next to his mother.