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Deadly gunfight breaks out at Moscow court hearing case of murderous Russian gang

Members of a notorious gang made a botched attempt to escape from a Moscow court house. The court was hearing a case against the GTA gang behind a series of cold-blooded murders against motorists.

At least 20 shots were fired inside a Moscow regional court on Tuesday, killing three people and wounding four others, in what appeared to have been gang attempt to take hostages and escape.

The shooting occurred during an ongoing court process against members of the so-called GTA gang, who are accused of killing 17 motorists around Moscow between 2013 and 2014.

Five of the accused "attacked police officers (escorting them) and tried to seize their weapons," while in an elevator, police said. The shootout left three of defendants dead and two of them injured. Also among the injured were two guards.  

GTA is a notorious gang accused of attacking drivers in Moscow suburbs. It acquired the nickname from the violent similarities of its crimes to the Grand Theft Auto video game.

The gang would lay spikes on roads outside Moscow to stop cars and kill the driver and passengers at night, always with 9mm pistols. The gang's motive appears to have been simply cold-blooded murder as they rarely took valuables.

A total of nine defendants, all from Central Asia, are on trial.

The group's leader was killed in a shootout with police in 2014.

cw/kms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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