By Andria Kades
A 23-year-old man was shot nine times early on Monday morning when he was killed outside his friend’s flat in Strovolos, Nicosia.
According to deputy police spokeswoman Nicoleta Tyrimou officers rushed to the scene after shots were heard on Thermis Street at around 4am.
The victim, Tasos Georgiou, also known as ‘Trellas’ (crazy guy), had been visiting a friend and was gunned down after he left his friend’s flat to go home.
“He was found dead at the entrance of the flat,” Tyrimou said, adding that officers were investigating if it was one or more people involved in the shooting.
His body bore nine bullet wounds and officers found 11 shell casings around his body.
The scene was cordoned off and state pathologist Angeliki Papetta conducted on scene investigations.
Police sources say he was implicated in the underworld, particularly in the past few months.
Although it has been widely reported that Georgiou worked as a security guard for a private firm and his own social media profile says he worked in security, Nicosia police spokesman Demetris Demetriou denied this but would not comment on what work the victim did.
He was however known to police in the past with reports saying Georgiou had injured a young man after stabbing him and was allegedly directly involved in the beating up of a newly wed couple.
Demetriou did not confirm the incidents nor did he say what he was known to police for.
He did however say Georgiou did not have a licence required to work as a security guard.
At the moment, police are looking through CCTV footage evidence collected from the scene. People have already begun giving statements.
Georgiou’s own social media account depicts several images of guns and ‘Strovolos Terrorism’.
Police are also investigating whether his murder is linked to a car explosion only an hour and a half before he was shot.
The blast at 2:30am in Lakatamia was caused by an improvised explosive device.
The rented vehicle belonged to a 37-year-old man and was parked outside his home.
“We do not rule out the possibility this is linked to the murder,” Tyrimou said, adding that investigations are still ongoing.
The 37-year-old was “in the same field of work” as Georgiou the Cyprus Mail has learned.
According to CyBC, Georgiou’s friend, outside whose flat the murder took place, told the police that he, Georgiou and another friend had met earlier in the night and went for a walk down town. The friend said Georgiou returned with him to his flat where Georgiou stayed until 4am.
MEGA TV and SIGMA TV reported that the victim had left his friend’s flat at 2am and returned about 45 minutes later.
Georgiou had reportedly received threatening phone calls in the past while unconfirmed reports say the shooting was because he had changed the security company he worked for.
Other reports suggested the killing was the result of a feud between Nicosia gangs and a month ago he changed his allegiance from one gang to another.