Russian Ambassador Assassinated by Turkish Police Officer

Russian Ambassador Assassinated
ADDS THE NAME OF THE GUNMAN - A man identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas holds up a gun after shooting Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Shouting "Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria!" Altintas fatally shot Karlov in front of stunned onlookers at a photo exhibit. Police killed the assailant after a shootout. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
  • A Turkish police officer claiming to be Karlov’s bodyguard, shot and killed the Russian ambassador to Turkey earlier today.
  • The gunman was identified as 22-year-old police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş.
  • Russian Foreign Ministry described the attack as an “act of terrorism.”
  • President-elect Donald J. Trump stated the gunman was a radical extremist.

A well-dressed Turkish police officer opened fire at an art event in Ankara on Monday, killing the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov and shouting “God is great” as terrified witnesses dashed for cover.

Police shot and killed the gunman, identified as 22-year-old police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş. Following the incident, Altintas’ mother and sister were taken into custody in the Turkish city of Izmir. According to Russian officials, the assailant was a radical extremist.

The gunman was dressed in a black suit, the standard plainclothes uniform for protective security details, and got into the event by claiming to be Karlov’s bodyguard, witnesses said.

“Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria,” the gunman also yelled in Turkish. “Until these places are safe, you will not taste any safety either.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova described the attack as an “act of terrorism.”

The attack occurred shortly after 7 p.m. local time, and reporters arriving at the scene a half hour later said they heard gunfire from within the building.

Photographs taken by an Associated Press photographer who kept his finger on the shutter while others dived for cover captured the aftermath of a murder which Russia described as a “terrorist act”.

US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the killing and offered help with the investigation.

“We stand ready to offer assistance to Russia and Turkey as they investigate this despicable attack, which was also an assault on the right of all diplomats to safely and securely advance and represent their nations around the world,” Kerry said in a statement.

Russian Ambassador Assassinated: Statement from President-Elect Donald J. Trump

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Trump labeled the man accused of fatally shooting Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at an Ankara art gallery a “radical Islamic terrorist.”

New York, NY – President-elect Donald J. Trump’s statement on the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov:

“Today we offer our condolences to the family and loved ones of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov, who was assassinated by a radical Islamic terrorist. The murder of an ambassador is a violation of all rules civilized order and must be universally condemned.”