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Police shooting suspect was planning a drugs-related murder

Photos of Elias Mouzis released by the police ahead of his arrest on Tuesday

A suspect arrested for shooting and critically injuring a police officer had been planning a murder before they were spotted by a patrol, prompting a shootout in Limassol on Saturday, a court heard on Wednesday.

Elias Mouzis, 38, had fled the scene but was arrested on Tuesday after police launched a manhunt in the district. He was remanded in custody for eight days.

Following his arrest, near the village of Kapilio, Mouzis told officers where he had an AK47 assault rifle, believed to have been used in Saturday’s gunfight, 7.5 kilogrammes of semtex plastic explosive, a detonator, a hand-grenade detonator and a number of loaded rounds.

Police told the court that the suspect had admitted his involvement in the shootout in Ypsonas that saw officer Giorgos Georgiou, 37, sustaining critical injuries. Georgiou was airlifted to Israel for treatment. A second officer involved in the incident sustained light wounds.

Police have so far arrested another three suspects, two men, aged 31 and 35, and a woman, 33, who apparently rented the car the suspects were travelling in on Saturday.

Mouzis was also wanted by police in connection with two other cases – the abduction of a man and firing shots at his house on January 22 and February 19 respectively.

Police said the 35-year-old suspect, a Bulgarian national, whom the court heard was with Mouzis on Saturday, had told them that the 38-year-old had been planning to murder someone involved in the other cases.

Police said Mouzis is suspected of being the person who had abducted and beaten a 27-year-old in Ypsonas on January 22 and made him call a friend to come to his aid by lying to him that he had run out of petrol.

Mouzis allegedly threatened the 27-year-old that he would hurt him and his mother if his friend did not turn up.

The bone of contention was the friend’s entry into the Paphos drug market which had allegedly cost Mouzis €200,000.

The friend never showed up and Mouzis released the 27-year-old who reported the incident to police.

A month later, shots were fired at the home of the 27-year-old with police issuing an arrest warrant against Mouzis.

On Saturday, the Bulgarian man drove from Paphos in the rental car together with the 31-year-old. They went to Ypsonas thinking a drugs deal was afoot. Mouzis arrived on foot, he said, wielding a firearm, and started plotting the murder of someone with the 31-year-old.

It was at that moment when the police officers showed up, responding to a report about a suspicious vehicle.

Their arrival was followed by gunfire against the officers, hitting and injuring one of them.

The injured officer got out of the car and emptied his clip at the suspects while the second officer tried to intercept their vehicle. At that moment a second burst was fired at the patrol car while the suspects escaped.

The car was found later near the Limassol hospital while the two male suspects were arrested the next day. The 31-year-old was found on a bench injured while the Bulgarian man was detained while on foot near Petra to Romiou.

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