MOSCOW - Three suspected gang members were killed in a shootout at a courthouse in a Moscow suburb on Tuesday after overpowering guards and stealing their weaponry, Russia’s top investigative authority said of their botched escape attempt.
Two more suspected members of the group dubbed by the media and police as the GTA Gang, a reference to the “Grand Theft Auto” video game series, were detained as they tried to flee.
Those two were hospitalized with “severe gunshot wounds,” the Investigative Committee said on its website.
The GTA Gang became notorious in 2014 for allegedly using spikes to burst the tires of vehicles traveling in the Moscow region in order to rob the drivers. The gang has been linked to at least 17 murders.
The five suspected members — all natives of Central Asia, according to the Interfax news agency — were at the Moscow Regional Court for a hearing.
The five launched their escape attempt when they were in an elevator with only two guards. One of the defendants, who were handcuffed, initiated the attack by choking a guard.
State media initially reported that the group stole multiple guns in the incident, but the Investigative Committee’s statement used a vague singular word translatable as “weaponry.”
A Russian National Guard officer and two police officers were wounded in the incident, state news agency Tass reported.