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Georgian police officer charged with intentionally killing woman with blind gunfire

21 April 2020
Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

A police officer in Tbilisi has been charged with intentional killing after allegedly shooting drunk at a nearby building from his balcony, killing a woman.

According to relatives, Tamar Antelava, 50, was shot in the back of the head while sitting on the sofa in her home, killing her immediately. The incident took place on 19 April, Georgian Orthodox Easter. 

The victim lived on the 7th floor of a building in Tbilisi’s Vazha Pshavela District, which according to the victim’s family was approximately 560 metres from where the police officer lived.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, investigators have found that the officer was drunk at the time and shot blindly from his balcony.

‘During the search of the accused’s house, bullet cartridges and the gun were retrieved’, the Prosecutor’s Office wrote in a statement. 

‘At around 21:00, during the curfew, when the absolute majority of the Georgian population was at home, he went to his balcony and fired several shots in the direction of residential buildings from his Viking model firearm’, said the statement published on 21 April. 

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the officer was alone at home during the incident. 

‘His guests had left his flat prior to the shooting, which was confirmed during questioning and is also visible from the footage filmed by the camera in the building’, the Prosecutor’s Office said. 

Formula TV reported that the officer had been celebrating Easter with fellow officers. They published a photo allegedly taken several hours prior to the incident showing the officer sitting around a table together with four men, who they said were also police officers. 

Formula TV quoted neighbours of the officer as saying that they heard four gunshots on that night. 

An investigation was initially launched into killing by negligence, which is punishable by up to 4 years in prison. On Tuesday, the Prosecutor’s Office upped the charges to intentional killing, meaning the officer faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

The Prosecutor’s Office said the officer had an indirect intent in committing the crime, meaning he did not directly intend the outcome of the crime but would be virtually certain of the outcome of his actions.

This could be a mitigating circumstance during sentencing if he is found guilty. 

The suspect’s lawyer told IPN that his client admitted ‘he shot several bullets in the air to mark Easter’. 

‘He’s very sorry and he regrets it, he feels very bad emotionally if what happened is the result of his action. He’s very sorry about what happened. Moreover, he’s a policeman. Someone who protects the law is being accused of killing an innocent person with his blind shooting, the lawyer said.

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