Killer detainee was seen as ‘low risk’

Two Thessaloniki police officers who were in the patrol car from which a 33-year-old detainee escaped on Saturday, before hijacking several cars and killing a bus driver, have until Thursday to prepare their defense. A lawyer representing the officers, aged 49 and 42, said they had not handcuffed the suspect because they knew him well and «did not think he was a risk.» The 33-year-old had been taken to their precinct on petty theft charges 17 times. The pair face charges of allowing a detainee to escape through neglect. The elder one is also charged with failing to guard his weapon, which the suspect grabbed before escaping. While the two officers were in court yesterday, relatives of the 59-year-old bus driver protested outside, condemning the police’s inability to avert the incident. Panayiotis Pyxopoulos, shot at point-blank range, is to be buried today. The 33-year-old perpetrator, believed to be a drug addict, is to face a magistrate tomorrow on a string of charges, including murder and attempted murder. In a similar, but thankfully bloodless, incident yesterday a man reportedly boarded a bus in central Athens and threatened the driver with a syringe and a knife. The suspect is alleged to have been on the bus and threatened the driver after the passengers disembarked. The driver said he was told to drive to Halkida, some 90 kilometers from Athens. He said he started driving but was told to stop in Nea Philadelphia, northern Athens, where the suspect disembarked.