The death Tuesday of a police officer in a shootout in a Rio de Janeiro shantytown raised to six the number of law enforcement personnel slain this year in Brazil's second-largest city.

The new attack on officers assigned to one of the Police Pacification Units, or UPPs, deployed in the shantytowns that were previously controlled by drug gangs took place in Coracão de Mãe, a neighborhood located in northern Rio de Janeiro.

Wesley dos Santos da Silva, 30, was shot in an exchange of gunfire with a group of pistol-wielding criminals and taken to the Central Police Hospital, where he died of his wounds.

After the deadly shootout, police arrested a man and a woman, from whom they seized a 9 mm automatic pistol. Both suspects were formally charged with murder and illegal weapons possession.

Attacks on the UPPs so far this year have also wounded 24 people.

The establishment of these units, backed up by investments in infrastructure, education and health care, are part of a public safety policy launched by the Rio de Janeiro government in 2008 as part of preparations to host the 2016 Olympics. EFE