Several lanes of traffic on the busy Rio-Niteroi bridge spanning Guanabara Bay have been paralysed during the ongoing hostage situation.
Military police had earlier tweeted that the special operations team was negotiating with the hostage taker: "Our officers are trained and have great practical experience in these types of situations". The standoff was broadcast live on Brazil's TV Globo, riveting Brazilians in a nation accustomed to high levels of crime.
None of the hostages was hurt, police said.
A spokesperson for the traffic police told the same station that the hijacker had not made any particular demands and seemed to have "psychological problems".
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Around four hours later the febrile situation was brought to a close when the hostage-taker was shot dead. "The criminal was neutralised and no hostage was injured".
Police in Rio killed 881 people in the first six months of this year - nearly five a day - a double digit increase compared to the same period in 2018, according to official figures.
Witzel, an ideological peer of Bolsonaro who also took office in January, says police should kill anyone with a rifle, and has ordered snipers to fire on suspects from helicopters. Police said they told authorities the gunman had poured petrol in the vehicle and threatened to set it on fire.
The hijacker and one hostage were killed. The hostages have been released unharmed, and the hijacker died on his way to the hospital, according to police. The hours long hijacking of bus 174 was later turned into an award-winning documentary.