A gunman surrendered to the Armenian police after reportedly bursting into an office building in Yerevan and opening fire there on Thursday.
Police officers rushed to the Erebuni Plaza Business Center and cordoned it off shortly after the gunfire. “The situation is under control,” a police spokesman told reporters outside the building.
In an ensuing written statement, the national police service said that its acting chief, Arman Sargsian, personally negotiated with the gunman and that the latter handed his weapon and surrendered as a result. The unidentified man was then taken to a police station in Sargsian’s car, according to the statement,
“No citizens were injured,” added the statement. “All circumstances of the incident are being clarified.”
The police said nothing about the man’s demands or motives.
Erebuni Plaza houses the offices of the United Nations, several private companies as well as the jailed former President Robert Kocharian and two media outlets sympathetic to him. Their employees were not allowed to leave the building during the two-hour standoff.
A journalist working for the Yerevan.Today news website said she saw an armed man and heard gunshots on the ground floor and immediately fled the scene. She said she and her colleagues were told leave the building after the standoff.
The head of Kocharian’s office, Victor Soghomonian, told reporters that it was empty during the incident. He said he does not know whether the gunfire had anything to do with the ex-president, who is standing trial on coup charges strongly denied by him.
“I have no information now,” said Soghomonian.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian was quick to react to the incident. “Any manifestation of violence, whatever the motive or justification, is unacceptable,” Pashinian wrote on Facebook. “No to violence! Armenia without violence.”