Police investigating the execution-style shooting of a man outside his son’s school in an eastern Athenian suburb on Wednesday believe the incident to be linked to rivalry between extortion rackets in the Greek capital.
The victim, identified as 47-year-old Vassilis Grivas, was a notorious figure in the Greek crime world. He was shot an estimated nine times in the body and head while in his car, just seconds after dropping off his 11-year-old son at a school in Glyka Nera. The boy was among several witnesses to the gruesome murder.
A 36-year-old woman, who was also dropping off her child at school, was injured in the shootout and had to undergo surgery on Wednesday on her shoulder.
Witnesses told police Grivas was shot by two men who drove up to the school entrance in a car – possibly a rental with fake license plates – and sped off right after. Police say the vehicle was found burned just a few dozen meters from the school and that the assailants made off on two motorcycles driven by accomplices.
The killing is being investigated by detectives in the homicide and extortion divisions, as the victim, a former bodybuilder, has twice been accused of heading a racket of henchmen who extorted money from local bar and nightclub owners.
Grivas’s murder is thought to bear similarities to that of Michalis Giatrakis, another former bodybuilder who was gunned down outside his club in Alimos, southern Athens, in April 2016.
Investigators are further exploring a possible link to the attempted murder of an inmate in Korydallos Prison on January 3 who has been accused of extortion.