Brazilian newspaper owner killed in ambush in Rio de Janeiro state

Robson Giorno, owner of online newspaper O Maricá in the city of the same name in the state of Rio de Janeiro, was shot three times and killed outside his house on May 25.

According to police, Giorno was lured away from home before being killed, Extra newspaper reported.

Police Chief Bárbara Lomba, head of the Homicide Precinct of Niterói, São Gonçalo and Itaboraí (DHNSGI, for its initials in Portuguese), said on May 27 to Extra that Giorno “left home around 10 p.m. to do a specific activity.

"We understand that he was drawn out, we believe he was prompted. He had just left the house when a car passed and executed him. They were waiting for him to come. The crime was planned, it was an execution, an ambush," the chief said.

In addition to being responsible for the news site, Giorno was active in local politics. According to Extra, he was president of the Social Liberal Party (PSL) in Maricá for five years and pre-candidate for mayor in 2015, but withdrew his candidacy before the 2016 elections.

Upon his death, he was affiliated with the Avante party and pre-candidate for mayor of Maricá on the party’s ticket, as the Knight Center learned from the state directorate of Avante in Rio de Janeiro.

Lomba told Extra that police are still investigating to determine the motive for the murder. She said she could say that the crime is related to Giorno's activity, but without specifying whether it would be his journalistic or political work.

"Let's look at the possible motivation, which people he was criticizing, if there were disagreements. We have to reconstruct even the steps of the victims, we cannot disregard any hypothesis, but we can say that the crime is related to the victim's activities," she said.

According to G1, the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji) stated in a note that "it mobilized the Tim Lopes Program team (which acts to combat impunity in crimes involving communicators) to gather information, and could expand the investigation so that the case is properly investigated, if there is evidence of a relationship between death and the victim’s journalistic activity."

The website, Facebook and Twitter accounts for newspaper O Maricá have no posts past May 25, when Giorno was killed.