Cyprus Mail

Perpetrators of daylight shooting in Nicosia still at large, police under fire

lakatamia shooting 2
Photo: Christos Theodorides

Investigations are continuing on Wednesday into the daylight shooting of a man on a busy road in Nicosia while the incident has rekindled reprovals over police ineffectiveness.

The victim was shot while riding his motorbike in the Anthoupolis area on Tuesday and is being treated at the Nicosia general hospital in critical condition having sustained wounds from three bullets, one to his neck and two to his sides.

The 34-year-old man had just left the Lakatamia police station having visited an individual being held there, spokesman Christos Andreou confirmed to state broadcaster CyBC.

Andreou also confirmed the shooter was a passenger on a second motorbike, while a third person is being investigated who was not at the scene.

The injured man was reportedly ‘well known’ to police with reports pegging him as a member of the gang of criminal Alexis Mavromichalis, who was murdered last October and whose killer is still at large.

Police have cast a wide net calling on testimony from individuals in Ayia Napa, according to Reporter while also reviewing threats made by the victim in order to establish the motive for the latest attack.

According to the same report, the victim was under indictment in a case being tried at the Famagusta criminal court and was on parole under conditions.

The Famagusta case concerns the beating of a man at a nightclub in Ayia Napa for which four others are also charged.

Just prior to the attack on Tuesday around midday, the 34-year-old had apparently visited a man suspected of involvement in arsons committed in April in Lakatamia betting shops, for which police had arrested two men.

Asked how it came about that police permitted the visit and why the victim’s movements were not more closely followed, Andreou told the CyBC that the visit was not an action which could have been prevented and that police cannot “follow the movements of every person out and about in the streets.”

The government on Wednesday went on the defensive over measures aimed at combating crime, saying it has taken steps to tackle the issue which are constantly being evaluated.

Spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiotis was questioned during a press briefing, after an attempted murder attack in Nicosia a day earlier, where someone was shot in broad daylight.

“We see the measures the government is taking every day. There is an increase in patrols as well as actions police is taking,” Letymbiotis said.

He underlined that all measures which have been announced to date are constantly evaluated, while police and the justice ministry are taking additional measures.

Combating crime is not a Cypriot phenomenon, and it is important to reassess measures to tackle crime as best as possible, he stressed.

“We remain committed to take all the measures we have at hand to ensure the safety and feeling of security for the public.”

Letymbiotis highlighted “every criminal act bothers us whether it is isolated or not. The matter of security of our citizens in our top priorities and concerns.”

According to media, police are investigating telephone communications of the detained arson suspect to elucidate how the perpetrators were in the know about the victim’s intended visit.

Officers believe the perpetrators of the shooting waited in ambush near the police station.

Police are continuing the search for the motorcycle the perpetrators were riding with Andreou saying he had no knowledge of media reports that a flaming motorcycle had been found connected to the crime.

Police on Tuesday scrambled to the scene after the shooting and closed off the road between Anthoupolis and Palaichori to gather evidence.

CCTV has been secured, however, the perpetrators were wearing helmets which makes them difficult to identify, Andreou told the CyBC.

An eyewitness told Cyprus Times that he was driving behind the 34-year-old and suddenly saw him drop to the ground in a pool of blood.

An off-duty ambulance worker as well as a number of other drivers pulled over and tried to help, calling emergency services.

“I saw him as he fell to the ground. He was in front me, I stopped. He was in a pool of blood. He was wearing a helmet; I was talking to him asking him if he’s ok but he couldn’t respond.

“Initially I didn’t understand what happened. Another driver from across the road shouted it had been a shooting. I then saw three bullet casings,” the driver following said.


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