Gunman who assassinated Russian ambassador identified as Turkish riot police officer

The Turkish man who gunned down the Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov earlier today has been positively identified as 22-year-old Turkish riot police officer Melvut Mert Altintas.

Off-duty and attending the Ankara art event that the ambassador had come to see, Altintas was caught on film with crystal-clarity as he drew his Canik pistol and shot the ambassador from behind.

Turkish Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu reported that Altintas has been working for the riot police unit in Ankara for the past two-and-a-half years.

Since the shooting, Altintas’ mother, sister and roommate have all been arrested for questioning.

Altintas was dressed in a black suit as he stood behind the ambassador, who at the time was making a speech. As he made his move, one witness said that “[Altintas] took out his gun and shot the ambassador from behind.”

Amid the chaos, witnesses reported that the young officer shouted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is Great.”

Altintas then warned the journalists filming the event not to intervene.

“Stand back! Stand back!” he said. “Only death will take me out of here. Anyone who has a role in this oppression will die one by one.”

Special Operations troops eventually gunned Altintas down, but not before he shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”

Ankara mayor Melih Gokcek said the usage of the Islamic slogan could have been a tactic used by the Altintas to deflect blame from the real plotters of the attack, speculating that the policeman could be a supporter of Fethullah Gulen- the political figure who was scapegoated for the Coup earlier this year.

According to the Daily Mail, Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone earlier today to speak of what Putin calls a “provocation” aimed at destroying an improving Russo-Turkish relationship.

“The crime that was committed is without doubt a provocation aimed at disrupting the normalization of Russian-Turkish relations and disrupting the peace process in Syria that is being actively advanced by Russia, Turkey and Iran,” Putin said. “There can be only one answer to this – stepping up the fight against terrorism, and the bandits will feel this.”

Russia has secured an agreement with Turkey to send Russian investigators to assist with the investigation of Karlov’s murder.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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