A foreign national, who was hospitalized after getting shot by Limassol police during an attempt to arrest him, has succumbed to his injuries.
Police said they were notified on Thursday afternoon over a public disturbance incident in Apesia, a village in Limassol district, after 39-year-old Iranian Abolfazi Ziaei had caused damage to a vehicle according to the complaint.
Officers from Lania station, who went to investigate the incident, said they found Ziaei, described as a legal resident at the village, standing outside his house, while other calls had also come in allegedly reporting on the suspect being enraged and moving about in the village.
Police told Knews the man became visibly angry and the officers were trying to calm him down.
In the past, Cyprus law enforcement had been warned by the European Commission over the use of lethal force
It was not clear whether an attempt to arrest the man had been made, but police said at one moment the man moved in a threatening manner towards one of the three officers while holding an axe and a hammer.
“One of the other officers fired a shot in the air but the suspect kept moving,” police told Knews.
A shot was then fired against the suspect, injuring him in the hip with the bullet passing through the body, while the officer who was being approached by the man also fired a shot at the other hip, according to police.
The suspect was rushed to the Emergency Room at Limassol General Hospital, with initial reports saying he was in serious condition but out of danger. He later went into cardiac arrest just before surgery and passed away at 9pm, according to police.
An officer, who was injured in the incident, was on a nine-day sick leave after he was treated for injuries in the forehead, nose, and shoulder.
The suspect was known to law enforcement authorities in connection with drug related offences, according to local media.
Police declined to comment on the use of lethal force, telling Knews the officers responded to a disturbance call and the situation escalated despite their efforts to calm the man down.
Taser gun holdup
In the past, Cyprus law enforcement had been warned by the European Commission over the use of lethal force.
Last year, the government pushed for legislation that would allow the use of electroshock stun guns by police officers, wildlife rangers, prison guards and members of the armed forces.
A taser or stun gun is a non-lethal incapacitating weapon that delivers electric shock aimed at inflicting pain without causing significant injury. Officers are able to aim their non-lethal weapon at suspects and temporarily disrupt their muscle functions, making the possibility of an arrest much easier.
A House committee was expected in January to discuss studies about stun guns, while it was not clear whether the legislation was ready to go forward.