Police: US official kills 2 gunmen in Pakistan
Thursday, January 27, 2011
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A U.S. consular employee shot and killed two gunmen as they approached his vehicle in a congested street in Pakistan on Thursday, police said. A pedestrian was also killed by a speeding American car trying to help, an officer said.
The U.S. State Department confirmed that an American employee was involved in the incident in Lahore, but could not provide details.
Police officer Umar Saeed said the men were suspected robbers, but provided no evidence to back up the statement.
Western diplomats travel with armed guards in many parts of Pakistan because of the risk of militant attack. Lahore has seen frequent terrorist bombings and shootings over the last two years, though the city’s small expatriate population has not been directly targeted.
Lahore police chief Aslam Tareen said the American was being questioned by the police and may be charged with both murder and illegally carrying a weapon: a Beretta pistol. The American shot both men after they pointed guns at him at an intersection, Tareen said.
“Diplomatic staff usually enjoy a certain type of immunity, but I am not sure about murder,” he said. “We will consult the Foreign Office and legal advisers in this regard.”
Police officer Atif Meraj later said that a murder case was officially registered against the American, and another case was registered against two other Americans for killing the pedestrian.
The gunmen approached the American’s vehicle on a motorbike, said Saeed, the police officer. The American managed to alert colleagues in a car behind him who hit and killed a passer-by as they rushed to the scene, he said.
Local TV showed footage of what it said was the American’s car, which had several bullet holes in the front windshield. It also showed one of the gunmen laying dead next to a motorbike with a pistol on the ground nearby. The other gunman was shown being placed in the back of an ambulance and appeared to be wearing a holster.
In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley declined to identify the employee involved, but said the individual is still in Pakistan. He said the incident is under investigation.