AUTHORITIES on Thursday launched a manhunt for the three persons who shot dead a 47-year-old man in broad daylight in a Limassol tavern.
The victim was later identified as Ernesto Leonides, a Greek national reportedly of Georgian extraction.
According to the police, at around 2pm three individuals wearing masks walked into a tavern in Yermasogia, in the heart of Limassol’s tourist area, and fired four shots at Leonides who at the time was having lunch with friends.
The victim was struck in the head and torso, collapsing to the ground, as the tavern’s patrons looked on in shock.
Limassol CID chief Ioannis Soteriades said the perpetrators fled the scene on foot.
Soteriades said also that a mobile phone, possibly belonging to one of the three men, was recovered near the crime scene. Police were meanwhile examining CCTV footage from a nearby shop. According to the state broadcaster, the videotape may have given police enough to identify one of the perpetrators.
Sigmalive posted on its website several seconds of the footage apparently showing three men running away but police said four men were seen fleeing. The men in the video are all wearing carnival-like white masks. As they pass by the camera in single file, one trailing the other by just a few metres, the first man appears to be holding a handgun. Police believe the murder may be gangland-related.
Leonides, a resident of Larnaca, was known to authorities in connection with past cases involving unlawful possession of firearms and a murder that took place in Larnaca in 2016. Media outlets reported that Leonides was at a time a suspect in connection with the March 2016 assassination of Giorgos Georgiou, aka Chiquito, in the buffer-zone village of Pyla. An autopsy on the victim’s body is to be carried out on Friday by a state pathologist.