A news photographer captured the moment a well-dressed attacker opened fire inside an Ankara art exhibit Monday, shooting and killing Russia’s ambassador to Turkey and wounding at least three other people in an apparent Islamic terror attack.
Still and video cameras were trained on Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov, who was giving a speech when a man in short hair and a dark suit suddenly shot Karlov in the back. Video captured of the incident shows Karlov grimacing and falling to the ground as the gunman moving toward his body. An Associated Press photographer on the scene took several images of the gunman and Karlov lying on the ground.
Turkish media reported the gunman had been killed. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made the announcement that Karlov had been killed in a live televised statement.
Watch Video of the assassination below. Warning: [Graphic Content]
VIDEO: Moment Russian Ambassador Karlov shot at art exhibition pic.twitter.com/JFuaeXhW7J
— Ann Kirton Langley (@AnnEnglishRose) December 19, 2016
The gunman could be heard shouting in Turkish “Don’t forget about Aleppo, don’t forget about Syria,” the BBC reported, citing a translation of video of the incident. Russian officials told Turkish newspaper Hurriyet that the perpetrator was believed to be an Islamic radical. The gunman could also be heard yelling “Allahu Akbar.” Russia is assisting the Syrian government in its campaign against rebel forces in that country.
“While [Karlov] was doing his tour of the exhibition, people that came in, they were really well dressed and, according to witnesses, they took out their guns and started shooting everyone,” said Sky News producer Guldenay Sonumut, who is based in Istanbul.
Another reporter in the room at the time of the shooting told Hurriyet the attacker fired several shots in the air before shooting Karlov in the back at least once.
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said U.S. officials were aware of reports about the shooting.
“We condemn this act of violence, whatever its source,” Kirby said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
Karlov, 62, had been Russia’s ambassador to Turkey since July 2013. He was Russia’s ambassador to North Korea from 2001-2006.
Karlov is survived by a wife and a son.