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Gunmen Fire on Russian Official’s Car

June 20, 2002

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MOSCOW (AP) _ Gunmen ambushed a car carrying one of Moscow’s deputy mayors on Thursday, wounding one of his bodyguards and a man in a passing shuttle bus.

The car used by the assailants was later found on fire with an unidentified body inside.

The deputy mayor, Iosif Ordzhonikidze, was not injured in the shooting, which took place on one of Moscow’s major highways during morning rush hour, said Lt. Col. Anatoly Shershevnyev, a Moscow police official.

The bodyguard’s condition wasn’t immediately clear. A 19-year-old student, who was riding in a minibus near the scene of the shooting, was also wounded by gunfire and taken to a hospital, another police official said on condition of anonymity.

The attackers drove past Ordzhonikidze’s car and cut it off underneath a bridge, Shershevnyev said. They then fired 30 rounds of ammunition through the windshield of the car before speeding off, he said.

One of Ordzhonikidze’s bodyguards got out of the car and opened fire, the other police official said.

Immediately after the shooting, another vehicle rammed Ordzhonikidze’s car from behind, in an apparent accident.

Police found the attackers’ car a short distance away, completely burned with a dead body inside, said the Moscow police spokesman. Police had not yet identified the body.

Thursday’s shooting marked the second attempt on Ordzhonikidze’s life. In December 2000, two masked gunmen armed with automatic rifles opened fire on his car near Moscow City Hall, severely wounding him and killing his driver.

Ordzhonikidze oversees some of the city’s most profitable business sectors, including casinos, hotels, and construction.

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