RIGA - Four of the five persons detained the morning of Jan. 25, for armed robbery in Jekabpils, are police officers, said Interior Minister Linda Murniece, reported news agency LETA. Two are members of the police response unit ‘Alfa,’ and the other two work at the State Police’s office in Tukums. The latter two were previously suspended from their jobs, but after police union objections they were reinstated, informed Murniece.
This is the first case in twenty years that a police officer shoots at his colleagues, stressed Murniece.
State Police Chief Artis Vells was scheduled to report to Murniece on Jan. 26 on his vision of further State Police work. Murniece said that major changes could take place at the Riga Region Police Administration, because this is where most police officers are employed.
Murniece has also decided to suspend State Police Riga Region Administration Chief Ints Kuzis from his job, given that two of the robbers were members of the ‘Alfa’ police unit.
An emergency meeting was scheduled at the Interior Ministry for Jan. 26. Murniece has also decided to visit Jekabpils to inspect the situation firsthand.
A police officer was shot dead and several people were injured as the police tried to detain several persons following an armed robbery at a Fenikss gambling hall in Jekabpils on the morning of Jan. 25, State Police spokesman Aigars Berzins said. The robbers tried to escape and fired several shots at the police in a car chase that followed the robbery; nevertheless, they were eventually caught and detained, said Berzins. Three of the five detainees were injured as they exchanged gunfire with the police, he said.
Police representative Zane Maskalonoka said that, according to initial information, five armed men attempted to rob a gaming hall in Jekabpils at about 9 a.m., but the guard managed to push the panic alarm button and State Police officers and security company representatives were quickly at the scene.
A police chase ensued; one officer was shot dead in the shootout and another two injured, of which one received serious injuries. The deceased is 12-year veteran of the Viesite police department, officer Andris Znotins.