Defendants Dead After Attempted Escape From Moscow Courthouse

Russia's Investigative Committee said the attempted getaway started while the five handcuffed men were being escorted by two guards in an elevator at the Moscow Regional Court where they were standing trial.

Russia's Investigative Committee said the ill-fated incident occurred at the Moscow Regional Court as the defendants were being escorted under guard in an elevator.

Three law enforcement officers - two with the Interior Ministry, and one with the National Guard - were injured.

Four defendants died in a gun battle Tuesday inside a suburban Moscow courtroom, a police spokesman said.

Three defendants were killed in Moscow when they tried to escape before a court hearing.

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She said three of the defendants were shot as they tried to escape, and two others were wounded. "Later somebody said that an armed guard had been injured", she said.

A correspondent from Rossiya 24 state television reported that the defendants took the opportunity to attack when the lift got stuck between floors, adding that they severely beat up a female convoy guard for 15 minutes. "They have gunshot wounds of medium degree of gravity", she said. One of the employees of Rosgvardia Mikhail Ananichev was wounded by bandits in the shoulder.

The court's spokeswoman, Natalya Osipova, told TASS news agency that the court had evacuated all staff and visitors and canceled all sessions.

Named by Russian media after the popular video game, "Grand Theft Auto" worked at night, placing metal spikes on highways to puncture the tyres of passing vehicles and then retreating into the shadows.

Nine men are charged in 17 murders and two attempted murders, as well as other crimes between 2012 and 2014.

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