Police tracked down and arrested on Friday a man accused of killing four people and wounding seven others in an Armenian village almost a month ago.
The 50-year-old suspect, Telman Kalashian, allegedly went on a shooting spree on August 1 as several hundred men gathered in Shamiram, a village about 50 kilometers west of Yerevan, to mark a Yazidi religious feast. Law-enforcement authorities say he fled the scene with the help of his uncle. The latter was arrested on August 2.
Kalashian, who lived in another village also mostly populated by ethnic Yazidis, remained on the run for more than three weeks. An Armenian police spokesman said he was caught in his home province, Armavir, but gave no details of his arrest.
Another law-enforcement body, the Investigative Committee, formally charged Kalashian with several counts of murder later in the day. It was not immediately clear whether he confessed to the killings.
In a statement, the Investigative Committee said the root cause of shooting was $75,000 which Kalashian lent in 2013 to five other Armenian-born men, all of them brothers, who lived and worked in Russia. It said the Khudoyan brothers subsequently paid back only $45,000, leading Kalashian’s to press their relatives and friends in Armenia to help him get back the rest of the sum.
According to the statement, the suspect traded insults with one of those friends, German Kyaramian, by phone hours before heading to Shamiram and opening fire inside a village dining hall.
Aziz Tamoyan, a leader of Armenia’s Yazidi community, also attributed the mass shooting to money owed to Kalashian when he spoke to journalists in Yerevan on August 2.