Residents of Paiania, who were gathered outside the capital's Evelpidon court complex on Friday morning, applaudedthe man as he entered the premises. “We are on your side. You are innocent,” people cheered.
The man is in custody after killing a 43-year-old Albanian man following an alleged attempted burglary at the former’s home, the second in as many months. He said the victim had threatened his mother with a knife.
According to police, the 43-year-old and two accomplices had broken into at least two residences in Paiania early on Thursday before officers were called to the scene to search the area with the help of local residents.
After police failed to find the suspects, they emerged from hiding and attempted to burgle a third home, according to locals. The owner of the third home fired a gun at the three men, missing them. Then, according to witnesses, the 23-year-old and his brother ran outside -- the former wielding a hunting rifle, which he fired at the fleeing robbers. The shots hit the 43-year-old, who died instantly.
“I thought they would kill my mother; my mind snapped when I saw the knife held against her neck,” he was quoted as telling his lawyer.
On Thursday, the lawyer of the 23-year-old said the gun went off accidentally in his client’s hands as he was running.