Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

In the annals of crime, there exists a peculiar tale that defies conventional understanding—a story of a serial killer who became an unlikely hero in the eyes of a nation. Meet Chico Pé de Pato, a name that struck fear into the hearts of criminals and admiration in the hearts of the oppressed.

Chico Pé de Pato, a moniker that translates to “Duck Foot Chico” in English, rose from the depths of poverty and despair in the crime-ridden streets of Brazil. His life was marred by tragedy and injustice, as he witnessed the abuse of his family at the hands of merciless criminals. Fuelled by vengeance and a thirst for justice, Chico embarked on a crusade against those who had wronged him and his loved ones. One of the first mentions of Chico Pé de Pato appeared in Notícias Populares on August 14, 1985, under the following headline: “2 brothers liquidated by the vigilante from the East Zone”.

With a chilling efficiency, Chico eliminated his targets, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. His victims, mostly criminals themselves, met their demise at the hands of this vigilante avenger. During his life as a “punisher”, Francisco was accused of killing at least 50 people and, some say (and this has never been confirmed), that the police themselves gave him the names of possible criminals and, furthermore, that ZL traders paid Pé de Pato for the “services” provided.

Yet, what sets Chico apart from the typical serial killer archetype is the paradoxical sentiment that surrounded him—a strange dichotomy of fear and adoration.
Despite his gruesome deeds, Chico Pé de Pato was hailed as a folk hero by many in the impoverished communities he purportedly protected. His actions, although outside the bounds of law, were perceived as a form of rough justice in a society plagued by corruption and impunity. The downtrodden saw in him a symbol of resistance against the tyranny of crime, a Robin Hood figure who dared to stand up against the oppressors.

His activities ended up causing major headaches for the public authorities at the time, especially for the then state secretary of Public Security, Michel Temer.

However, after a good period of activity, Francisco made a terrible mistake. Chico’s reign of terror came to an abrupt end on August 23, 1985 when he inadvertently crossed paths with an undercover police officer and ended up killing him. And it wasn’t just any death: eight shots at close range and three stab wounds to the head.

That day, aged 44, Pé de Pato became an enemy of the police. Captain Conte Lopes, member of the São Paulo City Council, was appointed to hunt down the former “punisher”, now on the run.

In the first attack on his bar, his son Flávio was arrested. Francisco had escaped in his Opala, but 48 hours later, he decided to surrender himself, particularly due to family pressure. He was informed that the police were putting pressure on his acquaintances, that they had destroyed his bar and that 1 million and 800 thousand escudos belonging to his family had disappeared.

With nothing to do, he decided to surrender. Staying in a hotel in Itaquaquecetuba, he called his personal friend, Afanásio Jazadji, so that he could mediate his surrender. After much conversation and the journalist’s need to look for Francisco, the surrender took place peacefully.

The nation watched in disbelief as their beloved avenger was taken into custody, his fate hanging in the balance.

In a twist of fate, Chico Pé de Pato found himself at the center of a legal battle that captivated the nation. Two thousand fervent supporters rallied to his defense, pleading for leniency in his sentencing. Their impassioned pleas reverberated through the halls of justice, culminating in a reduced sentence of six years—a mere fraction of what many believed he deserved.

Punisher with his weapons and his famous Opal posing for a report by Notícias Populare

But fate had. other plans for Chico. On that fateful day in January 1987, the echoes of violence reached him even within the confines of his prison cell. Among the inmates were friends or cronies of many ofbthe criminals Chico had eliminated. Stabbed 91 times in a brutal act of retribution, Chico Pé de Pato met his end, leaving behind a legacy as enigmatic as the man himself.

The tale of Chico Pé de Pato remains a perplexing chapter in the annals of crime—a narrative rife with contradictions and moral ambiguity. To some, he was a ruthless killer, a menace to society. To others, he was a symbol of defiance, a beacon of hope in a world shrouded in darkness. Regardless of one’s perspective, the story of Chico Pé de Pato serves as a poignant reminder of the complexities of human nature and the blurred lines between justice and vengeance.

 

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