Chilling images capture killing of Russian envoy in Turkey by off-duty policeman

Andrei Karlov lying on the ground after he was shot by Mevlut Mert Altintas (left) at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, on Dec 19, 2016.
Andrei Karlov lying on the ground after he was shot by Mevlut Mert Altintas (left) at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, on Dec 19, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS
Andrei Karlov making a speech at an art gallery shortly before he was shot in Ankara, Turkey, on Dec 19, 2016.
Andrei Karlov making a speech at an art gallery shortly before he was shot in Ankara, Turkey, on Dec 19, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS
Andrei Karlov lying on the ground after he was shot by Mevlut Mert Altintas at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, on Dec 19, 2016.
Andrei Karlov lying on the ground after he was shot by Mevlut Mert Altintas at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, on Dec 19, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS
Andrei Karlov lying on the ground after he was shot by Mevlut Mert Altintas at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, on Dec 19, 2016.
Andrei Karlov lying on the ground after he was shot by Mevlut Mert Altintas at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, on Dec 19, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Mr Andrei Karlov stumbles as the bullets hit him in the back, then crashes to the ground.

The media had come to cover the opening of a show at an Ankara exhibition hall on Monday (Dec 19), but their cameras ended up capturing the chilling scene of the Russian envoy's murder at the hands of a Turkish policeman.

Images from shortly before the shooting showed a clean-shaven officer standing discreetly behind Mr Karlov in a white shirt, dark suit and tie - apparently a bodyguard for the ambassador as he gave a speech at the exhibition.

But footage from minutes later showed the man brandishing his gun at shocked onlookers, jabbing his finger in the air and pacing backwards and forwards as Mr Karlov lies motionless on his back.

He shouts "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest") and then talks about pledging allegiance to jihad in accented Arabic, the images showed.

 
 
 

Switching to Turkish, he then says: "Don't forget about Syria, don't forget about Aleppo. All those who participate in this tyranny will be held accountable."

The terrified guests meanwhile cower behind tall cocktail tables laid out for the exhibition opening.

Immediately after the shooting at 19.05 pm (00.05 am Tuesday Singapore time), police entered the building and were later followed by special forces, Turkish interior minister Suleyman Soylu said.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said the gunman had been "neutralised" in a police operation inside the hall after 15 minutes of clashes when he refused to surrender.

Photos showing the man lying on the ground, riddled with bullet wounds, began to circulate on social media quickly.

The Russian ambassador was taken to Ankara Hospital where he was pronounced dead despite efforts to revive him, Soylu said.

The minister identified the attacker as Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, who had worked in the Ankara anti-riot police for the last 2½ years.

Reports said that his mother, father and sister were immediately detained for questioning in their home in western Turkey.

Ankara mayor Melih Gokcek speculated on his official Twitter account that the policeman may be linked to the group of exiled preacher Fethullah Gulen, who is blamed for the July coup aimed at toppling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The shooting came on the eve of a crucial meeting between the Turkish, Russian and Iranian foreign ministers on the Syrian conflict.