Carnage in the courtroom: Three members of Russian ‘Grand Theft Auto gang’ are killed during shoot out in Moscow court ‘after trying to grab guns from security guards and take hostages’
- Defendants ‘grabbed security guards’ guns as they were being taken into court’
- Shoot out took place at Moscow Regional Court and three of them were killed
- Men were alleged members of a so-called ‘Grand Theft Auto gang’ in Russia
- Nine were standing trial accused of terrorising motorists for months in 2014
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Three members of a Russian ‘Grand Theft Auto gang’ on trial for terrorising motorists have been killed in a shootout in a Moscow court after launching a bungled escape bid, it has emerged.
The defendants tried to grab guns from security guards and take hostages before they were shot dead at Moscow Regional Court, police in the Russian capital revealed.
Four were injured in the gun battle, which took place during a hearing in a case of a gang of nine people suspected of killing more than a dozen motorists.
Russia media dubbed the accused ‘the Grand Theft Auto gang’ after the violent video game. One of the group is know to have fought for ISIS in Syria before coming to Russia, local media reported.
Police say five handcuffed defendants were in a lift being escorted to the court, 12 miles northwest of Moscow city, when they tried to escape.
One tried to strangle a guard while the others seized weapons sparking a shootout with officers, Russia’s Investigative Committee said.
When the lift opened on the third floor of the court building officers from Russia’s national guard began firing on the attackers.
‘Three of the prisoners were liquidated and two wounded,‘ police said in a statement, adding that one law enforcement officer was taken to hospital with gunshot wounds.
Female guard Elizaveta Lukyanova said the attack was a ‘complete surprise’ and that she was beaten by assailants for 15 minutes.
She is now recovering at a nearby hospital.
The prosecutor’s office for the Moscow region said it was looking into the incident to see if guards had violated the procedure for escorting defendants.
An Interpol warrant for GTA gang member Anvarzhon Zhalalkuzhaev shows he is wanted for murder, among other charges.
A lawyer at the court, Sofya Rubasskaya, told AFP: ‘I heard shots, there were more than 20 shots.’ She said that she saw a wounded female guard whose ‘face was all bloody.’
After the shootout, everyone in the court was evacuated and all hearings have been postponed, the lawyer said.
The men on trial are accused of terrorising Moscow motorists for months in 2014.
Prosecutors said the gang members were placing spikes on roads, forcing the motorists out of their vehicles and shooting them dead.
The nine men, all from Central Asia, are charged with 17 murders and two attempted murders.