Police turn to foreign experts in homocide investigation

  • 2005-10-12
  • Baltic News Service
TALLINN - The investigation into the death of a 16-year-old girl by gunshot, presumably an assassination attempt on a senior public servant, escalated to an international level on Oct. 11 when police invited foreign experts to help examine security-camera footage of the assailant.

Senior prosecutor with the North Prosecutor's Office, Lavly Lepp, said police were hoping that the foreign experts could develop an image of the suspect detailed enough to use as case evidence.

He added that the security-camera footage should be processed by the end of this week.

Elmar Vaher, police director of the North precinct, said investigators were close to identifying the brand of weapon used.

"Police have short-listed two possible types of weapons that the criminal could have used. It is also clear that two different types of ammunition were used," Vaher said, adding that police had found four bullets at the scene but no used cartridges.

On Oct. 7, the teenage victim was on her way to school, via Kreutzwaldi Street, when a bullet hit her at 7:44 a.m. At least four shots were fired, one of which hit the girl near the temple, reported the Postimees daily.

The victim, who underwent surgery to stabilize her condition, died at 6 p.m. on Oct. 11

"Unfortunately, her life could not be saved," Inga Lill, a spokesperson for the North Estonian Regional Hospital told the Baltic News Service.

There has been much speculation that the shooting was an attempt on the life of Tiit Ottis, board chairman of the state property management company Riigi Kinnisvara, since he was near the victim during the shooting. In fact, it was Ottis who called an ambulance for the girl.

Although police have yet to establish an official motive, this version is currently the primary source of investigation. However, officials emphasized that other possibilities were also being looked into.

"One thing that can be said at this point is that the crime apparently was not directed against this minor," Lepp told ETV news on Oct. 10.

According to Lepp's spokesman, the killer 's although it is not known whether he was alone - was waiting outside Ottis' home on Kreutzwaldi Street, suggesting that it was an attempt on his life. He added, however, that until further investigation, this hypothesis could not be given prominence over others.

The official emphasized that any premature speculation could jeopardize an accurate investigation into the truth.

Police have provided Ottis with 24-hour protection against a potential follow-up attack, the Postimees reported.

A spokeswoman from RKAS, who reported on the shooting, declined to comment on whether Ottis believes he was the intended target.

So far, the only evidence to come from the security videotape is an image of two people near the crime scene. Until experts can produce a composite picture of the suspects, an official suspect cannot be established.

Police have questioned numerous witnesses of the attempted murder and the victim's friends.