Police operation in search for the man suspected of killing a family of fourimage copyright Mathias Folha
More than 200 police officers are involved in the manhunt

Hundreds of officers are involved in the search for a man accused of killing a family of four in Brazil, police say.

A helicopter has been deployed in the manhunt for the 33-year-old suspect who is believed to be hiding in a rural area in central Goiás state.

Police say he killed a man and his two sons, aged 15 and 21, in their house in an attempted robbery last week.

He is also accused of kidnapping and then killing the man’s wife, whose body was found three days later.

After that, the suspect, who has been identified as Lázaro Barbosa, took another family hostage, police said. They were released unharmed. He also allegedly set a car ablaze.

More than 200 police officers are involved in the manhunt in rural areas located about 100km (62 miles) from the capital, Brasília.

On Tuesday, the man was involved in a shootout with the police but managed to escape, police said. One officer was grazed in the head.

Federal District Governor Ibaneis Rocha told O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper: “It’s the first time I see something like this. It’s an impressive manhunt, and the police officers… still haven’t managed to find him.”

Mathias Folha, a resident in Cocalzinho de Goiás, which is located in the search area, told BBC News Brasil: “It’s been hard to sleep at night. The whole town’s life is around this. I even had to leave my house.”

The suspect was previously accused of crimes including homicide and armed robbery. He was arrested in 2007, but escaped from prison 10 days later.