Policeman Says He Grabbed Gunman’s Rifle As He Aimed At Leaders
MOSCOW (AP) _ A policeman said today he grabbed the barrel of a hunting rifle as a marcher in a parade aimed it in the direction of Soviet leaders watching Revolution Day ceremonies in Red Square earlier this month.
Up until now, official reports on the Nov. 7 incident had not said what the gunman’s target was.
But the policeman, Sgt. Andrei Mylnikov, said the gunman was aiming at the reviewing stand atop the Lenin Mausoleum where Soviet leaders, including President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, were standing.
Mylnikov said he was three yards away when the man pulled the rifle from under his coat.
He rushed the gunman and forced the gun barrel into the air just before he fired, the official Tass news agency quoted the policeman as telling a news conference.
″I ran up to him and, snatching the hunting gun barrel with both hands, sharply raised it upwards,″ Mylnikov said. ″At that time, the first shot was fired.″
Although he said the gun was aimed at the reviewing stand, he did not say whether the gunman seemed to be trying to hit a specific leader.
Mylinkov said a second shot was fired over the heads of police guarding the square, but by then they had enough warning from the commotion to ″bend down or fall to the ground,″ he said.
″After that, the gunman was apprehended,″ he said. ″I snatched the gun from his hands.″
About 20 plainclothes police seized Alexander A. Shmonov, 38, an unemployed worker from Leningrad, and bundled him off to the GUM department store across the square from Gorbachev.
He has been charged with ″attempted terrorism,″ and Tass said today he was being held in a KGB ″investigating isolation ward.″
Tass quoted KGB investigator Pyotr Sokolov as saying Shmonov’s actions amounted to ″an attempt to commit a terrorist act.″
The gunman had been standing about 80 yards from the official reviewing stand. He was marching in a delegation from the Bauman region of Moscow during a pro-Communist demonstration.
No one was hurt in the shootings, which came during an otherwise peaceful marking of the 73rd anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
The shooting occurred five minutes after Gorbachev, Russian Federation President Boris Yeltsin and other officials returned to the mausoleum after marching with the demonstrators.