Three people are dead after a shooting at a Moscow courthouse, after an incident in which defendants allegedly took guards’ weapons.
The shooting occurred at Moscow Regional Court, when alleged members of a criminal gang disarmed the guards and opened fire, according to TASS, a state-owned news agency. Two other defendants are said to be injured and in custody.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said two guards were transporting five defendants in an elevator when one of the defendants tried to strangle a guard, The Associated Press reports. The defendants then somehow managed to disarm the guards.
A shootout reportedly followed: “Three of the arrested were killed while trying to flee the scene when the elevator was forcibly stopped, two were wounded,” Tatiana Petrova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Interior Ministry’s Moscow department, told TASS.
The investigative committee said a National Guard officer was wounded in the shoulder, and the guards were injured.
The gang is known in the Russian media as the “Grand Theft Auto Gang,” after the violent video game.
“Prosecutors said the gang members were placing spikes on roads, forcing the motorists out of their vehicles and shooting them dead,” the AP reports.
Nine men are charged in 17 murders and two attempted murders, as well as other crimes between 2012 and 2014. The AP reports the defendants are all from Central Asia.