Pregnant Afro-Brazilian influencer and unborn child killed in police shootout

"Thank you Lord for blessing my womb and allowing me to generate the love of my life," 24 year-old Afro-Brazilian influencer Kathlen Romeu wrote just days before she and her unborn child were tragically killed in a police-involved shootout.

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In a heart-shattering double-tragedy, a pregnant Afro-Brazilian influencer and her unborn child were killed in a police-involved shootout in Lins de Vasconcelos, Brazil on Tuesday.

Lifestyle influencer and interior designer Kathlen Romeu was hit by a single stray bullet and died after being taken to a hospital, according to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo. Police officials say the shooting occurred during a confrontation with alleged criminals.

Days before the shootout, Romeu posted a photo on her Instagram account showing off her baby bump with the caption “Mom 2021.”

“I’m discovering myself as a mother and I get scared thinking about how it will be…” she wrote in a post last week. “Little one, I feel ready to receive you, love you, care for you!!! God bless us!” 

Violent police raids in Brazil, fueled by a government initiative to crackdown on illegal drugs and weapons, has drawn global coverage in recent years and has disproportionately impacted Black communities in the country. 

“It all happened very suddenly,” said Romeu’s grandmother who was with her at the time of the shootout. “My granddaughter fell as a lot of shooting started. I tried to protect her because I knew she was pregnant. I saw a hole in her arm and shouted for help. I lost my granddaughter and great-grandson in a barbaric shootout.” According to The Sun, Romeu’s grandmother told Brazilian media that Romeu had moved away from Lins de Vasconcelos just a month ago to avoid the violence. 

“This genocide needs to stop,” wrote Afro Brazilian physician and Big Brother Brazil Season 20 star, Thelma Assis, on her Instagram on Tuesday. “There are no words that can comfort Kathlen Romeu’s family and so many other families. And the feeling of impunity makes everything even worse.”

On Tuesday, Romeu’s partner and father of their unborn child Marcelos Ramos posted several photos of Romeu during her pregnancy.

“My love will never be forgotten, you and Maya/Zayon will always live inside of me,” wrote Ramos. “Here I will only miss you and the memories of you, the most radiant and lively person I’ve met in my life..”

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