The police chief of a district just north of Yerevan was found shot to death inside his car on Thursday.
Koryun Harutiunian’s body was discovered at a cemetery near Hrazdan, the administrative center of Armenia’s central Kotayk province. The car was parked near his parents’ grave. Harutiunian, 50, had a single gunshot wound to his head.
Law-enforcement bodies were quick to cordon off and examine the site after the discovery reported by the Hrazdan police in the morning. “A number of forensic tests will be conducted,” Davit Vekilian, a senior official from the Special Investigative Service (SIS), told reporters at the scene.
Vekilian would not say whether investigators believe that Harutiunian was murdered or committed suicide. But he added that the SIS has launched an inquiry under an article of the Criminal Code dealing with cases where people are “driven into suicide.”
Asked whether the police officer was shot from his own gun, Vekilian said, “That is not yet known. We are clarifying that right now.”
Harutiunian was appointed to run one of Kotayk’s police districts as recently as last week. According to Vekilian, the officer’s family told the police late on Wednesday that he has gone missing.
Harutiunian is not the first senior law-enforcement official to die in such circumstances. In August 2011, a 37-year old Yerevan prosecutor, Aram Grigorian, was found shot dead at a cemetery in his hometown of Vanadzor. Grigorian’s body lay by his late mother’s grave. An SIS investigation concluded afterwards that he committed suicide.
In November 2012, the police found an 83-year-old man shot at his wife’s graveside in Yerevan. The man turned out to be the father of Aram Zakharian, a police general who was recently appointed as head of the powerful Directorate General of Criminal Investigations.
Incidentally, Zakharian was among senior law-enforcement officials that rushed to the scene of Harutiunian’s mysterious shooting.