Officer faces murder charges

An Athens policeman was charged yesterday with the murder of a youth he shot on Thursday night when attacked by a motorbike gang he had just thwarted from robbing a car driver. The incident took place exactly one year after the fatal shooting of a Gypsy by an Athens police officer, who was also charged with murder yesterday. Police said Theodoros Katsas, who works in the Athens police training department and was off duty at the time, was stopped in his car at a traffic light on the corner of Grigoriou Lambraki Street and Poseidonos Avenue in Glyfada when he saw three youths on two motorbikes close in on either side of a woman in a Mercedes in front of him. Katsas said he thought the youths were about to smash the car window and steal the woman’s bag, and started flashing his lights and sounding the horn to warn her. The youths drove off – as did the Mercedes driver, who was apparently unaware of what had happened. But when Katsas stopped shortly afterward in Glyfada Square to phone the police, the youths saw him and threw a stone at his car, smashing the windshield. Katsas said he fired in self-defense, wounding Anastassios Limouras, 23, in the head. Limouras, who had a police record for theft and drugs offenses, died in hospital just before midnight. Police have appealed for the Mercedes driver to testify in connection with the incident. In an embarrassing conjunction for the police, another officer was charged yesterday with the murder of 21-year-old street vendor Marinos Christopoulos in Zefyri, western Athens, on October 24, 2001. Officer Giorgos Tylianakis claimed his gun went off by accident, shooting the young Gypsy in the head, when Christopoulos refused to stop his car at a police roadblock. Initially, Tylianakis had faced lesser charges.