NEWS

Store worker shot dead in standoff

A 32-year-old employee at an electronics retail store in the Athens district of Vyronas was shot dead yesterday following a standoff between an armed robber and an off-duty police officer, the latest in a recent spate of violent crimes across the capital. The robber, one of two assailants who witnesses said were Albanians, threatened Athanassia Gina at gunpoint after walking into a branch of Germanos shortly before 2 p.m. According to witnesses, the off-duty officer then drew his own gun and demanded that he give himself up. The 23-year-old robber responded by firing his gun, witnesses said, prompting the 38-year-old officer to fire back. In the confusion the female employee who had been threatened at the outset was shot twice in the chest. She was transferred to hospital but declared dead on arrival. The robber, who sustained minor injuries in the shootout, subsequently fled the store, pursued by the off-duty officer and by other policemen who had arrived on the scene. A suspected accomplice who had been standing outside the store eluded arrest but the 23-year-old who had staged the raid was caught by police who found 300 euros in one of his trouser pockets. He was hospitalized under armed guard yesterday. Police sources told Kathimerini last night that a closed-circuit television video shows that the woman killed in the raid had been standing behind the officer when the shootout occurred and therefore could not have been struck by his fire. The video is expected to be made public today. But the behavior of the off-duty officer in the store is under scrutiny. Sources said yesterday that the 38-year-old had shown «excessive zeal» but noted that he had been obliged to react.