By Astghik Bedevian
The Armenian police claimed to identified and arrested on Tuesday one of the perpetrators of a weekend deadly shooting in Yerevan that is widely linked with a November 2007 high-profile murder.
The incident was the latest in a series of shootings that rocked Armenia in recent days.
A police statement said that a 29-year-old man, identified as Hayk Davtian, surrendered to the Yerevan police and confessed to killing another man and wounding his companion in broad daylight on Sunday. It said the police are now hunting for Davtian’s accomplice who also allegedly shot at the men in what Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian has described as a revenge attack.
The arrested man is a nephew of Sayad Davtian, the chairman of the Armenian Association of Hunters and a senior member of the pro-government Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) who was shot dead in November last year. Law-enforcement bodies suspect that the victim of Sunday’s shooting, Hrachya Matevosian, committed that murder. But it is not clear why they had not prosecuted Matevosian.
In another incident, a lone gunman shot and killed four men in the central Armenian town of Spitak on Friday. Hovsepian suggested on Monday that the shooting was the result of a dispute between rival criminal gangs. Press reports the next day likewise described the victims as underworld figures.
Gunshots were also fired on Friday in the nearby small town of Stepanavan. The police said its mayor, Sarkis Gharakeshishian, shot and wounded three young men at a local restaurant owned by himself. Gharakeshishian claims that he opened fire after being insulted and stabbed by one of those men. The latter’s sister is said to have worked in the Stepanavan municipality and been fired by the mayor recently.
Similar disputes broke out in two Yerevan discothèques over the weekend. A shootout in one of them left one person wounded.
The other night club was the scene of a mass brawl allegedly provoked by a nephew of President Serzh Sarkisian. Eyewitnesses told RFE/RL that the young man, whose controversial father Aleksandr is a wealthy businessman and parliament deputy, and his friends attacked other men spending time there. A 31-year-old man seriously injured and lost one of his eyes in the fight.
Neither the police, nor the club owners confirmed the presidential relative’s involvement in the violence.