TALLINN - Police investigators announc-ed this week that the lethal shooting of a 16-year-old girl in October last year had actually been part of a contract hit on a local businessman.
Following the recent questioning of three suspects, prosecutors said they are convinced that the target of the armed attack was Tiit Ottis, CEO of Riigi Kinnisvara, a real estate management company.
Hinge Brand, the north district prosecutor, said existing evidence unequivocally indicated that the criminals had wanted to shoot Ottis, though he stopped short of saying if the attempt was due to the target's business or private life.
"It is possible that a link between this shooting story and some other crime will be revealed," Brand told reporters on Jan. 2. He said the investigation into the crime was still not closed.
By now three persons have been arrested in connection with the case. On Dec. 27 police arrested a minor identified by his first name as Dmitri, which was followed by the arrests of Andrei, 26, and Aleksandr, 36, the next day.
All the arrests were made in Tallinn.
Brand said all the suspects had been interrogated, and they had given their statements. Brand would not say, however, if any had confessed to the crime or said something about the party that ordered the shooting.
Police have not been able to find the murder weapon yet, investigators said.
The eldest of the three suspects, Aleksandr, has a number of previous convictions but has never been tried in connection with a grave offense against an individual.
Veronika Dari, a 16-year-old schoolgirl, was fatally injured on the morning of Oct. 7, 2005 as she was heading to school on Kreutzwaldi Street. Police have established that four bullets were shot from the courtyard of the apartment house at Kreutzwaldi 4, one of which hit her in the head.
One of the first people who rushed to the victim to help was Tiit Ottis, who had just emerged from the apartment building.
Veronika Dari died in hospital four days later without regaining consciousness.