Three people standing trial have been killed in a shootout at a courthouse in Moscow, Russian officials have said.
Five handcuffed defendants tried to escape as they were escorted by two guards at the Moscow Regional Court, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee, the country’s chief investigative body.
One of the defendants tried to strangle one of the guards, and the defendants managed to escape and seized the guards’ weapons, it said in a statement.
A shootout with the court’s guards ensued, and three of the defendants were killed while the two others were wounded.
Three law enforcement officials were also wounded, said Petrova and Yevgeny Kubyshkin, a spokesman for the Russian National Guard, which had an officer in the court.
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 three defendants were members of a gang that were involved in “one of the more lurid episodes of Moscow’s recent past.
In the dead of night, the gang members placed metal spikes on roads to burst the tyres of passing cars, then ruthlessly gunned down their drivers and disappeared.
Prosecutors said the gang members were placing spikes on roads, forcing the motorists out of their vehicles and shooting them dead.