By Armen Zakarian and Ruzanna Khachatrian
A senior prosecutor suggested on Tuesday that personal jealousy was the likely cause of a grenade explosion inside an Internet café in downtown Yerevan on Sunday which left one person dead and two others seriously injured.
Police have said the hand grenade was thrown and detonated in broad daylight by a 54-year-old man identified as Mayis Zohrabian. The blast killed one of the café’s employees. Laura Mnatsakanian, 43, was a mother of three.
It also gravely wounded Zohrabian and the owner of the place. Both men were hospitalized and remain under intensive care. They are said to have been close acquaintances.
Law-enforcement officials investigating the incident say the presumed assailant is still unable to give testimony. But he has already been charged with committing a “murder” in a way that “endangers many people’s lives.” The accusation carries at least eight years’ imprisonment.
Armenia’s Deputy Prosecutor-General Mnatsakan Sargsian suggested personal motives for the bloodshed. “According to our preliminary theory, the grenade explosion was motivated by jealousy,” he said without elaborating.
But Aleksan Andreasian, a lower-level prosecutor leading the inquiry, was less categorical, saying that other unspecified theories are also being considered by the investigators. Neither official would say who was the main target of the attack.
Sargsian complained that murders in Armenia are increasingly triggered by disputes over minor issues arising between neighbors, business partners and even friends. He revealed that one such quarrel between neighboring families in Yerevan ended in the stabbing to death of a man at the weekend.
“Unfortunately, we have problems related to people’s social life,” the prosecutor told journalists. “We have growing instances of murder provoked by minor things.”