Police launched a massive manhunt on Monday after a 37-year-old policeman was killed near the village of Distomo in the prefecture of Viotia when gunmen, believed to be Albanian fugitives from Trikala Prison, opened fire on officers manning a road block.
According to police sources, the five assailants were first spotted by police near the entrance to the village. Five officers gave chase in two unmarked cars – both Ford Focuses. On arriving at the location, the assailants reportedly appeared from a small park where they had hidden and threatened the police officers in the first car with Kalashnikov assault rifles before disarming the officers and removing their bulletproof vests. When the second unmarked police car arrived at the scene, one of the assailants reportedly opened fire on the officers in that vehicle, injuring the 37-year-old in the thigh.
The father of two, Giorgos Andritsopoulos, died in a local hospital after medics failed to stop the hemorrhage. The victim’s wife is reportedly pregnant with their third child.
According to sources, police on the scene recognized three of the assailants as being among the 11 inmates who escaped from Trikala Prison in April. Marian Kola, their suspected ringleader, is believed to have been among them.
Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias said the authorities were “making every possible effort to ensure that the murderers are brought to justice and are made to answer for their abhorrent actions.”