One patient was killed and a nurse and an off-duty policeman were wounded when armed men stormed a Rio de Janeiro hospital in a brazen plot to free a suspected drug trafficker, Brazilian police said.

The melee sparked a shootout with officers.

Rio investigators said in a statement that at least five men arrived at the Hospital Souza Aguiar early Sunday to rescue the 28-year-old suspect, who was being treated there for a gunshot wound.

Police are studying security camera footage to identify the attackers.

Brazilian media reported the patient who died had been taken to the downtown hospital by a friend, the off-duty officer who was wounded along with the nurse.