‘Disturbed’ officer remanded

A 37-year-old policeman who on Wednesday shot a private security guard outside the home of the US ambassador in Athens, was yesterday transferred to the psychiatric unit of Korydallos jail after appearing before an investigating magistrate on charges of attempted murder. Meanwhile police revealed that US Embassy officials had made three requests to the head of their local police station to replace the 37-year-old. Citing concern at the policeman’s «unusual behavior,» the officials had asked the chief of Ambelokipi police station to provide a replacement to guard the residence of Ambassador Daniel Speckhard, police sources said. During his 30-minute deposition before a magistrate yesterday, the 37-year-old allegedly claimed to have fired his gun in the air after being startled at the sight of the armed security guard walking toward him. The lawyer representing the policeman said that his client’s mental health had deteriorated in the past 24 hours. The policeman’s mother, who also testified yesterday, confirmed that her son had seen a psychiatrist a few days before the shooting and had been taking medication, but she did not clarify what kind. In her deposition, she allegedly said that her son had been suffering from anxiety since 1996 when the now disbanded November 17 carried out a rocket attack against the US Embassy. «He was scared that he would be targeted,» she was cited as saying. «He would say, ‘Mother, they’re going to kill me,’» she added. The mother expressed her regret to the relatives of the 29-year-old security guard shot in Wednesday’s attack who yesterday underwent an operation for the removal of a bullet from his jaw.

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