Shots Fired Outside US Embassy in Turkey

2nd gunman detained hours after Russian ambassador killed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 20, 2016 12:33 AM CST
Shots Fired Outside US Embassy in Turkey
Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, pauses during a speech at a photo exhibition in Ankara on Monday, moments before a gunman opened fire on him.   (Burhan Ozbilici)

Turkish police on Tuesday detained a man who fired shots in front of the US embassy in Ankara, several hours after the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated. The man took out a pump-action shotgun he hid in his coat and fired around eight shots in the air before the embassy's security guards intervened and apparently overpowered him. No one was hurt in the incident, which occurred hours after a Turkish policeman, appearing to condemn Russia's military role in Syria, fatally shot Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov in front of a shocked gathering at a photo exhibit in Ankara, the AP reports. The embassy said its missions in Ankara, Istanbul, and the southern city of Adana would be "closed for normal operations on Tuesday."

The US embassy is located just across the street from the art exhibition center where the ambassador was shot. It was not immediately known if the two incidents were connected. The leaders of Turkey and Russia have described the attack as an attempt to disrupt efforts to repair ties between their countries, which have backed opposing sides in the Syrian civil war. The assailant, who was identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas, a 22-year-old member of Ankara's riot police squad, was later killed in a shootout with police. Police investigating the ambassador's killing have detained six people connected to Altintas. They include the man's parents, sister, two other relatives, and his roommate in Ankara. (An AP photographer says at first, he thought the gunman was a "theatrical flourish.")

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