NEWS

Laborer dies in failed police raid

A 25-year-old plumber was killed yesterday afternoon in the eastern Athens district of Vyronas after getting caught in a shootout between two criminal suspects and police officers. The worker, an ethnic Greek from Albania, had been walking by when – at the urging of police – two suspects emerged from a house but, instead of giving themselves up, opened fire on the officers. The suspects, believed to be fugitives from a Larissa jail and to have been involved in a string of violent bank robberies, fired their guns and threw five hand grenades at the officers, three of which exploded. The police returned fire and the plumber was hurt in the shootout. He later died of his injuries in hospital. Two policemen were also wounded though the extent of their injuries remained unclear. One suspect was arrested immediately. The other was later found hiding in the loft of a nearby bakery. Another botched police operation on Monday night resulted in two suspects disarming a pair of officers outside a tax office in the northern Athens suburb of Maroussi. The two officers – a special guard and a policeman with six months’ training – were dispatched to check out the two suspects shortly before midnight. According to sources, one of the two suspects pulled a gun on the officers when they emerged from the patrol car. The suspects, believed to be Albanians, forced the officers to hand over their guns and bulletproof vests before getting into a silver Peugeot that had been parked nearby and driving off. The policemen said they stopped a passing taxi driver and used his cell phone to call for help. Three motorcycle officers who responded to the call came upon the Peugeot later and a chase ensued, during which one of the fugitives shot at the officers. They were not hurt but lost the suspects.