Russian ambassador to Turkey shot dead by gunman

Publish Date
Tuesday, 20 December 2016, 7:29AM
A gunman shot dead a Russia's ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition before being shot and killed by police. Photo / AP

A gunman shot dead a Russia's ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition before being shot and killed by police. Photo / AP

A gunman wearing a suit and tie and shouting "don't forget Aleppo" shot and killed Russia's ambassador to Turkey as he gave a speech at a photo exhibition.

Turkish police fatally shot the gunman.

The ambassador, Andrei Karlov, was several minutes into his speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when the gunman fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience. The attacker also smashed several of the photos hung for the exhibition. There was panic as people ran for cover. NTV said three other people were wounded in the attack.

Reuters says the gunman was a local police officer.

The killing is one of the most serious spillovers of the Syrian conflict into Turkey.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Karlov was shot "when an unidentified assailant opened chaotic gunfire during a public event in Ankara."

She later confirmed he had died. She said Russia was in contact with Turkish officials about the incident.

People react after the the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was shot at a photo gallery in Ankara. Photo / AP

Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek told reporters outside the exhibition center that the "heinous" attack aimed to disrupt newly-re-established relations between Turkey and Russia.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said U.S. officials were aware of reports about the shooting.

"We condemn this act of violence, whatever its source," Kirby said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."

-AP/NZME