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RIGA - Chairman of the Harmony Center faction in the Riga City Council Nikolajs Zaharovs (Harmony Center) was seriously wounded while hunting in Jelgava region’s Zalenieki Couny on Nov. 28, reports news agency LETA. He sustained serious injuries to the chest and remains in intensive care.
Jelgava Hospital representative Andris Kipurs said that Zaharovs’ condition is stable, but still serious. Lengthy treatment will be needed for a full recovery, however, some complications may remain after the course of treatment is complete.
Kipurs himself was on the hunting trip together with Zaharovs and was able to provide emergency assistance. Zaharovs apparently shot himself by accident.
Zemgale Regional Police Administration chief in Jelgava, Zenta Tretjaka, said that around 15 individuals participated in an authorized hunting outing in Zalenieki that day. The local police administration learned of the accident from hospital staff, to whom the wounded Zaharovs, while still conscious, is said to have admitted to having accidentally shot himself.
The police have launched a criminal procedure to investigate all the circumstances surrounding the shooting. It is currently believed that Zaharovs was preparing his rifle, then tripped over some object and accidentally fired a shot at himself. He underwent surgery the same day the accident took place and currently remains in the intensive care unit.
Zalenieki Hunting Association Chief Janis Parazevskis said that the hunting expedition in which Zaharovs was wounded was illegal, as it took place in a state forest, and not on private territory; the hunters had killed eight deer.
Parazevskis noted that the circumstances of the accident are unclear and that there is suspicion that the victim actually received gunshots outside the forest, possibly while in a car. According to the hunter, Zaharovs received three shots in the lungs and three shots close to his spine. Parazevskis believes that it would be impossible for a person to wound oneself in this way, that such shots would have to be fired at a distance of five to ten meters. In Parazevskis’ view, the police are trying to conceal the fact that somebody else shot and wounded Zaharovs.
Zaharovs also works as chairman of the Riga City Council’s Traffic and Transport Affairs’ Committee.