João Carreira was accused in July by the Public Ministry (MP) of two crimes of terrorism, one of which was in the attempted form, and of the crime of possession of a prohibited weapon.

He has been in preventive detention since February 11, 2022, and the coercive measure was replaced by preventive internment at the Caxias Prison Hospital, with the MP alleging “strong danger of continuation of criminal activity and an intense danger of disturbance of public order”.

FBI warning

The young man's arrest took place on February 10, following an indication from the FBI (which emerged from a complaint by a user) and on the eve of the date he had set to carry out the attack on the higher education establishment he attended.

In addition to prohibited weapons - including a crossbow and several knives - other items were seized, "susceptible to being used in the practice of violent crimes" and extensive documentation, "in addition to a written plan with the details of the criminal action", according to the note then released by the PJ.

“Fascination and obsession”

According to the MP's indictment, João Carreira began to show interest in the phenomenon of mass murder in 2012, aged only 9, which would develop from 2018, aged 14/15, into “a fascination and obsession” with this type of content, consuming it “compulsively” through social networks and online forums, namely, Discord, Reddit and Tumblr.

“The fascination and obsession of the accused João Carreira with these themes created in him, since at least the end of September 2021, a deep desire to replicate and copy such violent acts, carry out a mass attack/murder and commit suicide or be killed later”, said prosecutor Felismina Carvalho Franco in the indictment, which stressed that the attack was only prevented thanks to the timely intervention of the authorities.

Referring to “the goals of indiscriminately killing several people and spreading terror in the school community” on the part of the young man, the MP reported that the university student also showed resentment for having been associated with suspicions of plagiarism of an academic work and that this would have reinforced the psychological picture he presented at the time of the events.

For the prosecutor, there is still a risk that the young man “may feel again the same desire to kill people and to die, and that this occurs at a time and in circumstances where the authorities are unable to act in order to stop the defendant’s behaviour.”

The investigation was led by the Lisbon Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DIAP), assisted by the PJ's National Unit to Combat Terrorism (UNCT). The trial starts this morning at the Lisbon Central Criminal Court.