By Astghik Bedevian
A gunman shot and wounded a leader of the Yerkrapah Union of Nagorno-Karabakh war veterans in the southern town of Armavir at the weekend, in what local residents believe was the result of a bitter business dispute.
A police statement said Rostam Gasparian, the 45-year-old head of the local Yerkrapah branch, came under a hail of automatic gunfire in broad daylight moments after getting in his expensive car. Police said they found 28 cartridge cases at the site of the shooting.
Still, Gasparian appears to have sustained only minor injuries to his feet and hands and his life was never in danger. He was reportedly discharged from hospital several hours after the incident.
Law-enforcement officials in the town 40 kilometers south of Yerevan refused on Monday to divulge any details of their criminal investigation. According to local residents, Gasparian’s supporters affiliated with Yerkrapah found and vandalized a car from which they believe the gunman shot at their leader.
The car, which was left unattended about 200 meters from the scene, is said to belong to the manager of an Armavir liquefied gas station owned by Gasparian’s local business rival and parliament deputy Nahapet Gevorgian. However, the man, identified by locals as Samson, was not even considered a suspect by investigators on Monday. A local prosecutor leading the inquiry refused to explain why, saying only that “this doesn’t mean anything.”
Gasparian, who also owns a liquefied gas station, is known to have long feuded with Gevorgian. Neither man could be reached for comment.