Police charged over car shooting

Three policemen were charged with attempted murder yesterday in connection with the shooting, on Friday afternoon, of one of three people in a car that tried to escape a police roadblock in central Crete. The incident touched off a riot on Saturday when a 100-strong mob tried to storm a police station in the northern town of Iraklion, injured two officers and badly damaged more than half a dozen patrol cars. Iraklis Maragakis, 22, an unemployed former soccer player from Iraklion, was wounded in the head in Friday’s shooting on the road from Iraklion to Anoyia. He was described as being in extremely critical condition yesterday at the town’s Venizeleion Hospital. The other two men in the car with him – driver Nikolaos Yialitakis, 22, and Evangelos Papoutsakis, both from Iraklion – were unhurt. Yialitakis was charged yesterday with violating the traffic code, as well as possession and use of drugs, while Papoutsakis was also charged with use of drugs after police said they had found 10 grams of cannabis that the car’s occupants had allegedly jettisoned when they saw the roadblock. Iraklion police said Yialitakis initially obeyed police orders to stop but then tried to speed away – whereupon the three officers manning the roadblock opened fire, wounding Maragakis. The officers were arrested and their weapons confiscated, and ballistic tests are under way to see which fired the fatal shot. A full investigation has been ordered. On Saturday evening, Maragakis’s relatives gathered outside the Iraklion security police building to protest the shooting. Police said they were joined by a group of up to 70 anarchists, who threw stones and bricks at the building, beat up two officers, overturned two patrol cars and damaged another six in the police garage. Six youths were arrested.