Aug. 1 (UPI) — Four defendants died in a gun battle Tuesday inside a suburban Moscow courtroom, a police spokesman said.
At least two other people, including a man, 45, and a woman, 40, within the courtroom were injured and hospitalized, the Moscow region health ministry said. The incident began during a hearing as five defendants accused of “banditry” attempted to take weapons away from court security guards at the Moscow Regional Court, the police spokesman said. The suspects died as they attempted to escape the courtroom.
The building was evacuated, and court activities resumed later in the day.
The suspects in the hearing, all from Central Asia, are known as the GTA, or Grand Theft Auto, gang, named after the video game franchise. They are accused of terrorizing drivers in the Moscow area by disabling motorists’ cars with spikes placed on roads, and then shooting the drivers. They are charged with 17 murders and two attempted murders.