US official guns down two motorcyclists in Lahore
LAHORE: A ‘US Consulate employee’ allegedly shot at and killed two young motorcyclists here on Thursday, while another motorcyclist was run over by his colleagues riding another car, police and witnesses said.
Raymond David told police that he had opened fire in self-defence. Quoting the accused, police said the car that crushed the motorcyclist had come to Qurtaba Chowk, the place of incident, in order to rescue him (David). “The rashly driven Prado crossed the median on Jail Road, ran over the young motorcyclist and disappeared in a flash,” a witness said.
Raymond David also fled the scene, but two traffic wardens chased and overpowered him in Old Anarkali Food Street and handed him over to police, Chief Traffic Officer Ahmad Mobeen told Dawn.
More than 100 people blocked the road after the incident by setting tyres on fire to protest the killing. The protest later moved to picket the police station where the car involved in the incident was impounded.
Police recovered from his possession a 9mm Glock pistol he had used to shoot the youngsters and shifted him to the South Cantonment police station.
A senior police officer told Dawn that Raymond David was among four people who were detained by security personnel near Lahores Sherpao Bridge on Dec 9, 2009, when they were trying to enter the Cantonment area in a vehicle with tinted glasses. They were armed with sophisticated weapons. The intervention of the US consulate led to their release, the officer recalled.
“No member of a diplomatic mission in a country is allowed to carry arms.
Only security personnel are permitted to do so and that too after informing the local security authorities in advance regarding their movement,” he said.
Civil Lines Division SP Umer Saeed said the arrested US Consulate employee was not carrying any licence for the weapon recovered from his possession.
Quoting the suspect, the SP said he was being chased by the armed motorcyclists. As soon as he reached Qurtaba Chowk, one of them tried to kill him, he told the police.
Preliminarily investigation suggested that as the motorcyclists wanted to mug the foreigner, he killed them in self-defence, the SP said, adding that one of the two was identified as Faizan Haider of Ravi Road.
Mohammad Ramzan, a salesman at a shop on Jail Road, told Dawn that he saw a foreigner leaving his Honda car in a hurry and with a pistol in his hand. “Within seconds he trained his gun at two motorcyclists standing at the Qurtaba Chowk traffic signal and opened fire,” he said.
Both the youngsters suffered multiple injuries and fell on the road. The foreigner immediately drove away his car towards Mozang Chowk.
One of the motorcyclists died on the spot while the other in Services Hospital. SP Umar Saeed said the motorcyclists were also carrying pistols at that time. He denied reports about the cross-fire and said police also recovered two pistols from the place. The other motorcyclist, who was run over by the colleagues of David, was identified as Ibadur Rehman, of Gulshan-i-Ravi. He ran a cosmetics shop at Auriga Complex in Gulberg.
The police sent the bodies of three men to the city morgue for autopsy.
No case was registered till the filing of this report.
Amjad Mahmood adds: Raymond David was shifted to the US Consulate on the directives of provincial authorities.
Punjab government sources said that immediately after the arrest of David, police authorities informed Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and sought instructions for further action. The sources said the chief minister discussed the issue with Consul General Carmila Conroy and directed police to shift Mr David to the consulate.
Anarkali DSP Safdar Raza Kazmi took David in his vehicle to the consulate, although police were claiming that he was lodged in the North Cantonment police station.
Efforts to obtain the version of Punjab government spokesman Senator Pervaiz Rashid were in vain.
A senior police officer said Mr David, a technical officer of the US consulate in Lahore, had spent two years in Afghanistan and was well-trained to combat any critical situation.
As soon as one of the motorcyclists drew pistol, he acted within seconds, targeting him with four shots. He then fired three shots at his companion.
Of the seven shots, the police officer added, he missed only one as police found six shells he fired form his pistol.
He said the Prado used by David’s other colleagues bore a fake registration number (LZN-6970) which was originally issued to a Suzuki Cultus car. He said the police record had confirmed that Faizan Haider was involved in dacoities.
Meanwhile, on the complaint of Imran Haider, a brother of Faizan Haider, Lytton Road police registered a murder case against David. On another complaint, police registered a case against unknown occupants of the Prado which caused the death of Ibadur Rehman.