Content Warning: this article discusses murder, misogyny, and femicide.
The esports community and the Brazillian gaming community are mourning a tragic loss. A 19-year-old Call of Duty Mobile player named Ingrid Oliveira Bueno da Silva was murdered by a rival player in São Paulo, Brazil, on February 22. Sol, as she was known in the professional esports scene, was killed by 18-year-old Guilherme Alves Costa, also known as Flashlight, at his home in Pirituba. His brother reportedly found her body and then persuaded his sibling to turn himself in.
After stabbing Silva to death, Costa uploaded images of her bloodied body to social media. Silva, a player for “Fantastic Brazil Impact E-Sports,” had reportedly gone to Costa’s home to take part in a joint competition. Costa, who played for the team “Gamers Elite,” had first communicated with Silva online last month. He confessed to the killing approximately just 30 minutes after committing the heinous act.
Before then, he reportedly shared a video of the attack on WhatsApp with multiple people, including the esports organization he was a part of. In one of the videos circulating the internet, he mocks Sol as he pans the camera over her body. In another, he says, “Well, you think it’s ink, it’s a montage or something like that, but it’s not. I really killed her. Do you understand? And… well, I have a book, too. I asked some people to publish this book of mine, [but] alas.”
Upon being captured, he said his sanity was completely fit and that he killed Sol simply because he wanted to.
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According to the police report, there is evidence he had been planning the attack for at least two weeks. The evidence is contained in his notebook, which reportedly consisted of over 50 pages that explained his motives. A translated post on Instagram from Gamers Elite mentions Costa had also shared a document with “messages of hatred against Christians” and nods to terrorism.
“After the leadership of the company became aware of what had happened, we organized ourselves and took necessary measures: we informed the appropriate authorities and asked all our members not to share the video of the alleged crime,” writes the Call of Duty Mobile competitive esports organization. It states its relationship with Costa was always virtual.
“We have never seen him in person and few in the organization have ever seen his face,” the post continues. “We would also like to state with a total conscience that our organization has never compromised with any criminal act in any way and will never condone or create apologies for it.”
While crime statistics showed a decrease in the 2019 Annual Brazilian Public Security Report, with violent deaths falling 10.8 percent nationwide in 2018, the rate of femicide cases increased by four percent within the same period. The World Health Organization defines femicide as, “generally understood to involve intentional murder of women because they are women, but broader definitions include any killings of women or girls.”
“We condemn these acts of insidious violence against women,” Women in Games Argentina wrote in response to the tragedy. The organization pointed to the fact that this is a grave issue in Latin America. “We don’t want the media pointing out the victim as guilty of something to deserve it, nor the violence in video games as a scapegoat. Let the guilt fall where it belongs, in a patriarchal system that enables and pardons violence against women.”