Edvard Margarian, a 36-year-old resident of the town of Masis, reportedly threw a hand grenade and fired two gunshots after entering the local municipality building on Friday night for still unclear reasons. Law-enforcement authorities say Margarian shot and killed himself inside the office of Masis Mayor Davit Hambardzumian early on Saturday as police officers tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with him.
Members of Margarian’s family suspect, however, that he was killed. They include his mother Rima, who also tried to talk to him during the standoff.
“For three times I asked my son, ‘Dear Edo, please respond, I’m your mother, let me come up … If he was alive [at that point,] wouldn’t he respond?” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
Rima Margarian also argued that her son had no criminal record and history of psychiatric problems or drug abuse. She said that Edvard, who is a former member of the town council, had fallen out with Hambardzumian and wanted to meet with the mayor to sort out their dispute.
According to the Investigative Committee, just hours before bursting into the mayor’s office Margarian phoned a police station in the small community about 20 kilometers south of Yerevan to warn that the dispute could leave him and a dozen other people dead.
The law-enforcement agency has released no other details of the call. Nor has it shed light on the gunman’s problems with the municipal administration.
Hambardzumian, who is affiliated with an opposition group, could not be reached for comment on Monday.