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A.K.A.: "The Belgorod shooter"
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Attempted robbery - Shooting spree
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: April 22, 2013
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: 1982
Victims profile: Four men aged between 28 and 45 and a 14-year-old girl. Another girl, 16, died later in hospital
Method of murder: Shooting (Saiga semi-automatic rifle)
Location: Belgorod, Belgorod Oblast, Russia
Status: His trial has began in August 2013
photo gallery 1 photo gallery 2

2013 Belgorod shooting

On April 22, 2013, a mass shooting occurred at approximately 2:20 p.m. Moscow time on a street in Belgorod, Russia. The shooter, identified as 31-year-old Sergey Pomazun, opened fire on several people at a gun store and a sidewalk, killing all six people that were hit. After an extensive day-long manhunt, Pomazun was apprehended by police the following night, during which a police officer was wounded. His trial began in August 2013.

Shooting spree

At the gun store "Okhota" ("Hunting"), located at a crossing of Popova Street and Narodny Boulevard, a gunman killed two sales assistants and a visitor at the store. He then went outside and shot three other people that were walking by. Two of them, a man and a 14-year-old schoolgirl, died on the spot; the third, a 16-year-old schoolgirl was wounded and died in a hospital an hour later; the four other victims were all males aged between 28 and 45.

The killer, who escaped from the crime scene in a black BMW X5, which was later abandoned, was identified as a 31-year-old local resident named Sergey Pomazun, who had three previous convictions of car theft. The gun and the vehicle were both stolen from his father. The entire police force of the region went out searching for him until the late hours of April 23, when he was arrested while trying to escape the city. One police officer was wounded while capturing the suspect.


April 23 and 24 were declared days of mourning in Belgorod Oblast. The authorities promised to give out a million rubles to each of the victims' families.


The trial of the shooter Sergey Pomazun, facing a life sentence, has began in August 2013. Pomazun confessed to the crime and told the court that he had only intended to steal guns from the store then kill a supermarket security guard who had insulted him days before, and that the shooting spree was an unplanned and accidental occurence in the course of "a special operation" that went wrong.

He said the first killing was sparked by what he thought was a plainclothed policeman reaching for a weapon; after that he began indiscriminately shooting people who stood between him and the car. He said that he was used to killing civilians during the Second Chechen War when he served in the military between 1999-2001, first as a conscript with regular army and than as a sharpshooter in a Spetsnaz GRU special forces unit from Grayvoron.

Pomazun claimed said his GRU battalion participated in a series of special operations in Chechnya and killed nearly a thousand people "all the way from Mozdok to Khasavyurt," including crushing them with tanks and beheading women and children in order to intimidate the population. However, according to court documents, Pomazun was only a truck driver in the military and has never been to the North Caucasus; Pomazun replied that he was serving there on a classified mission.


Alleged Belgorod Shooter Says Killings Due to Personal Insult

August 6, 2013

BELGOROD, August 6 (RIA Novosti) – A man who allegedly shot six people to death around a hunting store in southwest Russia said during his trial on Tuesday that he had intended to steal weaponry from the store then kill a supermarket security guard who had insulted him days before.

Sergei Pomazun, dubbed in media reports as the Belgorod shooter, in reference to the city where the incident occurred, told the court that after exiting the store, where he allegedly shot three people with a rifle, he did not indent to shoot anyone on the street.

“But a man rushed in my direction holding a hand under his jacket,” the defendant said. “I thought he was a police officer and that was why the shooting started. … I took the first shot at him and then began shooting at other people to clear my way to my BMW X5 car.”

Pomazun, who is also accused of killing three people outside the store, including two schoolgirls, aged 14 and 16, told police while he was being detained that he was shooting “into hell.” His lawyer has claimed that he is schizophrenic, but he has been deemed fit to stand trial.

Pomazun, who previously served four years in prison for theft and is currently facing life behind bars, recently told the court that he was used to killing women and children on combat duty during the Second Chechen War, from 1999 to 2001.

But the judge informed the court that, according to case materials, Pomazun had never served in the North Caucasus. The defendant replied that he was serving there on a classified mission upon orders from Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU.

Defense lawyer Viktor Yeremeyev cited the Chechen War reference as grounds to conduct another psychiatric evaluation of his client. But Judge Nikolai Kudinov refused that request, saying the initial evaluation, which proved that Pamazun was mentally stable and fit to stand the trial, remained in force.


Security tightened as trial of "Belgorod shooter" continues

July 23, 2013

BELGOROD, July 23 (Itar-Tass) - The second day of the trial of the so-called "Belgorod shooter" Sergei Pomazun, accused of killing six people, began amid tight security measures in Belgorod. The hearing will be open, an aide to chairperson of the regional court Irina Sazonova told Itar-Tass.

The court is expected to hear all the witnesses before the end of this week. "The judge will thoroughly question the witnesses in order to find out all the details of what happened," Sazonova said.

The prosecutor listed 60 witnesses in the case. "The defense has not lodged any petitions yet," she added.

In the court of the first hearing, Pomazun refused to apologize to the victims' relatives, saying he had no intention to "humiliate himself." After he insulted the mother of the girl he had killed, the judge reprimanded him. Pomazun's mother then left the court. Pomazun's father did not turn up for the hearing. He had told the investigator that his son, after serving a sentence in prison, did not behave adequately: he talked to himself and burnt all family and army photos.

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said the psychiatric expert examination had found Pomazun sane.

More than 50 expert examinations were carried out, including genetic, forensic, ballistic and biological.

The investigator said Pomazun had gone on a shooting rampage because of "hooligan motives."

At around 11:00, on April 22, Pomazun opened a safe in his house to retrieve his father's Vepr-308 hunting rifle and at least 144 rounds of ammunition. On the same day, he drove to the hunting equipment shop in Narodny Bulvar /Parkway/ in Belgorod at 14:20, Moscow time, entered it and killed two shop assistants and a visitor. He then stole two self-loading hunting rifles Tigr and more than 250 rounds of ammunition.

As he was leaving the shop, Pomazun shot at passers-by, killing a man and an underage girl. Another girl died in hospital later in the day.

Pomazun was detained near the Belgorod railway station in the evening of the following day. He stabbed the police officer who was detaining him at least four times.

He was charged with murder of two or more persons for hooligan motives, concealing crimes, illegal turnover of weapons, theft of weapons and ammunition, an attempted murder of law-enforcement officer.

Pomazun was released from prison in December 2012 after serving a four-year sentence for theft.


Sergey Pomazun charged with killing 6y people to stand trial in Belgorod Region

June 26, 2013

The Main Investigations Directorate of the Russia’s Investigative Committee has finished investigating a criminal case against Sergey Pomazun. He is charged with crimes under paragraphs “a”, “c”, “f”, “i” and “j” of part 2 of article 105 of the RF Criminal Code, part 1 of article 222, part 1 of article 226, paragraph “b” of part 4 of article 226, article 317 (murder of two or more people, including a small child, motivated by hooliganism, with the purpose to conceal another crime; illegal handling of firearms; stealing of ammunitions, committed using violence, dangerous for life and health; encroachment on the life of a law enforcement agent).

According to investigators, on 22 April, Pomazun got hold of his father’s hunting rifle and drove a BMW X5 to the shop Okhota (Hunt) to steal firearms. In the shop he shot dead two shop assistants and a customer. He stole guns from the shop and left. Realizing that people outside could have heard the shots and recognized him, Pomazun shot dead three passersby. After that he got into the car and fled the crime scene. Later he shot dead a passerby on a side walk. During the arrest Pomazun stabbed a police officer.

More than 50 expert examinations have been run during the investigation including DNA, traceological, forensic, medical, ballistic, biological and a number of others. Their results helped to restore the fullest picture of what had happened. Pomazun’s lawyers insisted on psychological and psychiatric tests which confirmed that the defendant was sane, though he refused to testify during the investigation. It is unclear what Pomazun was counting for, but it can be said that those tests were useless. Experienced investigators of the Investigative Committee conducted careful and meticulous probe and I should note did it excellently. That is why the lack of testimonies of the killer himself does not matter. The story of the Belgorod killer shockingly illustrates where unlimited access to guns could lead in Russia. This case might reason those who support the idea of free circulation of firearms. Otherwise, our country might equal those where such tragedies happen much more often.

Investigators have gathered enough evidence, therefore, the case with the approved indictment was forwarded to court to be tried on the merits.


‘I was firing into Hell’: Belgorod shooter kills 6 after 'being insulted in shop'

April 24, 2013

The ‘Belgorod shooter’ said his killing spree was provoked by staff in local stores who refused to let him enter, Sergey Pomazun told investigators after his arrest, local media reported. Pomazun killed six, including a 14-year-old girl, on Monday.

Pomazun, 31, went on a shooting rampage on Monday at a local gun store and killed six people – four men aged between 28 and 45 and the 14-year-old girl. Another girl, 16, died later in hospital. He was apprehended after trying to elude a massive Russian-Ukrainian manhunt. The suspect was discovered trying to leave the city by freight train, and injured one police officer with a knife as he resisted arrest.

Pomazun has refused to testify, but held an unofficial conversation with investigators about the incident, LifeNews reported.

On the eve of the deadly rampage, Pomazun reportedly tried to enter one of Belgorod’s main supermarkets but was stopped by security guards, who said his appearance was the reason he was turned away. Store staffers reportedly insulted and made fun of Pomazun, who became angry and vowed revenge.

Pomazun went to a nearby gun shop to purchase ammunition, but the staff there refused the sale because Pomazun had a criminal record. He promised to return and kill everyone in the store, but the employees did not take his threats seriously.

An enraged Pomazun then went home, broke into his father’s safe, grabbed a hunting rifle, got into his parents’ car and went to back to the gun shop. There, he shot three staffers and then exited the store and shot three others who witnessed the incident. Afraid of being seen and caught, Pomazun returned to the car and drove away.

The shooter has denied that he fired at any children: “I didn't shoot at any kids, I was firing into Hell,” he claimed after being arrested.

Shooter’s erratic behavior

The father of the suspect said that his son was behaving erratically in recent days, and had threatened to kill him. "He went nuts after five years in jail," Aleksander Pomazun told Lifenews.

Sergey Pomazun is said to have led a chaotic lifestyle, and would often pay short visits to his parents to ask to borrow money. Unable to pass driving tests, Sergey still drove his parents' car.

"The suspect's father had previously called the police twice about the aggressive behavior of his son," an investigation spokesperson said. "However, no punitive measures were undertaken by law enforcement, they are said to just come and leave asking to inform them in case of a violent action. We will investigate this information and hold those police officers responsible if it is confirmed."

Neighbors confirmed that Sergey was prone to antisocial behavior, saying he was frequently inexplicably aggressive against them. Pomazun was released from prison in December after serving a sentence for theft.

Pomazun is currently in temporary detention at a local police station, and will undergo a psychological and psychiatric examination.

The suspect reportedly acquired his shooting skills in the army, where he served in the Special Forces at a nuclear missile base for two years.

Hundreds of police were involved in the search for the 'Belgorod shooter' that began Monday, with at least 2,000 police and Special Forces involved, and officers from neighboring regions dispatched to join the operation.

Pomazun hid in a nearby swamp during the manhunt. Police spotted the suspect by city’s train station. When asked to show his ID, the suspect said he didn’t have any with him and used a fake name to identify himself.

During the arrest, Pomazun resisted and used a knife that was covered by a sweater to wound a police officer, who is currently recovering in a local hospital. Police expected that the shooter would be armed with at least an air pistol, but no firing weapons were found on him, and it is unclear where his weapons might be.

A funeral for victims of the tragedy was held on April 24, according to the mayor's office. The city administration agreed to pay the victims’ families 1 million rubles, and offered to help with arranging their funerals.


Russian police capture 'Belgorod shooter' as he attempts to escape massive manhunt

April 23, 2013

Sergey Pomazun, the main suspect in the Belgorod shooting, has been arrested trying to elude a massive Russian-Ukrainian manhunt. He was leaving the city in a freight train. Six people were killed in Monday spree, including a 14-year-old girl.

“On Tuesday evening Sergey Pomazun tried to leave the cordoned area in a freight train, but was detained by the police,” the Russian Interior Ministry has said. Pomazun was arrested at the city’s railway station.

The suspect injured one policeman with a knife as he tried to resist arrest, the ministry added.

The photo composite of the shooter created by law enforcement was crucial in apprehending the suspect. He was detained by four policemen dispatched from Moscow to aid the search.

“At around 11 pm we saw a suspiciously behaving man walking in the direction of the station. We approached to check his documents. When we realized that he looked like the composite, we launched the arrest operation. He resisted,” Aleksey Edreshov, one of the man responsible for capture told RIA.

Currently Pomazun is in temporary detention in a local police station.

The murder suspect began to testify, investigative official, Elena Kozyrev told RIA adding that the suspect will be subject to a psychological and psychiatric examination.

The funeral of victims of the tragedy will be held on April 24, according to the mayor's office. The city administration agreed to pay the families of the victims 1 million rubles and offered aid in conducting the funerals.

Hundreds of police had been searching for the 'Belgorod shooter,' who went on a gun rampage in the Russian city of Belgorod on Monday, killing six people. Helicopters and jets were also reported to be patrolling the area.

At least 2,000 police and special forces were engaged in the operation. Highway police were searching all vehicles on the road, and Belgorod residents had been told to stay in their homes if possible and to not disrupt the search operation.

"I went to school today. Streets are empty. People are scared to leave homes. Very few cars. Belgorod is filled with panic," Twitter user @gods_syndrome reported.

Earlier, city residents planned to hold a memorial event on Tuesday evening to mourn the victims of the shooting rampage. However, the gathering was canceled for security reasons.

Police force from neighboring regions were dispatched to join the manhunt. Over 100 public activists and members of youth movements have also joined police in an effort to find the still-at-large gunman.

Sergey Pomazun, 31, went on shooting rampage on Monday at a local arms store. Six people were killed: Four men aged between 28 and 45 and a 14-year-old girl. Another girl, 16, died later in hospital. Mourners brought candles, stuffed toys and flowers to the site of the tragedy.

Twitter users in Belgorod have said that the father of the slain 14-year-old girl could not endure the loss and died, though this death has not been officially confirmed.

“In fact, the father of the killed 14-year-old girl has become the seventh victim of the Belgrade tragedy ,” AlenaGood31 wrote.

Pomazun is believed to have taken at least one rifle from the store with him as he escaped in his BMW. His vehicle was later found abandoned. Social media users have speculated that he may be addicted to drugs.

The rifle used in the rampage belonged to the shooter's father, who is a hunter, and was legally registered.

The neighboring Ukrainian regions of Kharkov, Luhansk and Sumy are also on the search map, as the suspect may have crossed the border. A bounty of 3 million rubles ($100,000) has been posted for his capture.

An investigation into the deadly incident is underway. On Tuesday, Belgorod's regional Investigative Committee charged Pomazun in absentia with the murder of six people, theft of a weapon and ammunition, and the theft of weapons used for violence. Investigators also asked the court to impose arrest as pre-trial restraint for the suspect.

Authorities have announced a two-day mourning period in the wake of the tragedy.

Police have put out a call for dashboard camera recordings from vehicles that were near the crime scene on Monday. Special police patrols have been assigned to guard kindergartens and schools until the shooter is captured.

Some have suggested that Pomazun may have committed suicide in the woods.

Pomazun was released from prison in December after serving a sentence for theft. At his apartment, investigators discovered an empty opened weapons safe. No weapons were found in the gunman’s abandoned car.

On the eve of the deadly rampage Pomazun reportedly tried to buy ammunition in that same gun shop. When he was refused due to his criminal record, he promised to return and gun down everyone, Vesti FM reports. The employees did not take his threats seriously.

Belgorod is a city with a population of over 420,000 people in the south of European Russia, about 40km from the Ukraine border.

'He went insane in jail'

The father of the suspect said that his son was behaving erratically in recent days, and had threatened to kill him. "He went nuts after 5 years in jail" Aleksander Pomazun told Lifenews.

Pomazun junior is said to have led a chaotic lifestyle, and would often pay short visits to his parents to ask to borrow money. Unable to pass driving tests, Sergey did not have a driver's license but still drove his parents' car.

"The suspect's father had previously called the police twice about the aggressive behavior of his son," an investigation spokesperson said. "However, no punitive measures were undertaken by law enforcement, they are said to just come and leave asking to inform them in case of a violent action. We will investigate this information and hold those police officers responsible if it is confirmed."

Neighbors confirmed that Sergey was prone to antisocial behavior, saying he was frequently inexplicably aggressive against them.

Sergey acquired his shooting skills in the army: He served in the special forces at a nuclear missile base for two years.

Rosbalt reported that the shooter has been isolated and placed under psychiatric control for a set period while imprisoned. The investigation, however, did not confirm that the shooter had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder.


Belgorod shooting suspect still at large after killing 6, including 14yo girl

April 22, 2013

Police are searching for a suspect in the Monday shooting in the Russian city of Belgorod. A gunman opened fire near an arms shop, leaving six people dead and one injured. A 14-year-old girl is among those killed.

Police have asked Belgorod residents not to leave their homes because of the special operation. The photo of the suspect – Sergey Pomazun, 32 – and his description have been posted on the internet. Law enforcers also warn that the man at large may be armed with a gas pistol and a semi-automatic rifle.

Local authorities say that some 1200 police personnel are engaged in the search for the fugitive.

Authorities have also sent a description of the suspect to the Interior Ministry of Ukraine in Kharkiv, Luhansk and Sumy regions. Border and customs controls have also been placed on high alert.

Russia’s Interior Ministry has set a big reward for information about the suspect.

Belgorod authorities earlier stated that the suspect had been detained by police. However, they then said that the report was published on the local administration’s website by mistake.

“Information on the detention of the suspect has not been confirmed, the Interior Ministry told us two minutes ago,” the city administration’s press service told Interfax.

The man is still at large. Currently, law enforcers are checking vehicles and housing estates in Belgorod and its outskirts, the regional Interior Ministry Department said.

His residence was earlier cordoned off by police. While searching the suspect’s apartment, investigators discovered an open safe used for storing weapons, but found it empty. No weapon was located in the gunman’s abandoned car either.

About 2pm local time (10:00 GMT) the gunman drove up to a shop in a dark BMW X5. Getting out of the car, he opened fire in the street and then inside the shop. He then managed to flee the scene in his vehicle.

As a result of the shooting rampage, four men aged between 28 and 45, and two schoolgirls were killed, police said. One of the girls, a 16-year-old, was taken to a local hospital, but died later in the ICU. She would turn 17 in just over two weeks - on May 9.

The Belgorod shooter allegedly used a Kalashnikov-based semi-automatic 7.62 caliber Saiga carbine, popular with hunters, reports Lifenews tabloid.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is being kept informed on the development of the situation, his press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

The city administration has declared April 23 and 24 days of mourning in Belgorod. The authorities will also cover all the funeral expenses and provide financial aid to the families of the victims.

Russia’s Emergencies Ministry sent a team of psychologists to the city to help the grieving relatives to cope with the tragedy.

All churches in Belgorod region will hold memorial services for those killed in the shooting.

Meanwhile, the residents of the city – known to be very calm and quiet – remain shocked by Monday’s tragedy. Police presence was beefed up in Belgorod with sounds of sirens breaking the silence in now almost empty streets.

The suspect has a criminal record and has earlier been convicted four times, “mainly for thefts,” a source at regional Interior Ministry Told Interfax. It is alleged that he attempted to rob the arms shop.

Conflicting reports suggest there were two suspects in the shooting, with witnesses having seen them according to some media reports. The two may have reportedly been father and son.

According to law enforcers though, the suspect’s father, Aleksandr Pomazun, is actively cooperating with investigators.

“Initially, [the father] was put on a wanted list, as the BMW that Sergey Pomazun drove in to the shop was registered on Aleksandr’s name,” the regional Interior Ministry told Interfax. “But soon Aleksandr’s whereabouts were identified and he gave detailed evidence during questioning.”

Some media also stated that earlier the shooting suspect had undergone treatment at a psychiatric clinic. It was reported he had been sentenced to compulsory treatment by a court. However, the regional Investigative Committee did not confirm that information.

On the eve of the bloodshed, Pomazun managed to escape road police after he violated driving regulations by driving on the opposite side of the lane and ignoring a red traffic light at a junction, reported Life News tabloid.

Belgorod is a city with a population of over 420,000 people. It is located in the south of Russia’s European part, just 40km from the border with Ukraine.

Locals say the shooting sparked panic among residents.

Elena Petrenko - a witness to the drama, who works in a close-by supermarket - says they heard the shooting, which they at first confused for fireworks before looking out of the window.

“There’s a school near [the shooting scene]. Children were running asunder and screaming,” she told RIA Novosti, adding that the area is generally very crowded with people as there are shops and a central market there.

“A woman with a baby carriage and a child in her arms tried to run into a shop, but the salesmen closed the door right in front of her,” the witness added.

“Employees of [a nearby] Sberbank office want to close the bank because of the incident. Connection is down. They are panicking,” ‏@anastasiaskull posted on twitter.

Police have “cordoned off the area,” says user @Angelina1Lina11. “Damn! I’m only 2-3 minutes far from home. It freaks me out.”

“Everyone who lives in Belgorod, be careful,” warns @Lizaveta_31. “I was called up and told not to leave house. We’ve got shooting here.”

“The reports are conflicting! So don’t believe anything, just keep safe! Don’t risk your lives!” adds another local resident, @TranceR1.

Dozens of Belgorod residents came to the scene of the tragedy events bringing flowers and candles to commemorate the six victims. (Watch the video below posted on YouTube by Mir Belogorya)

Legally acquired hunting weapons are used only in a tiny fraction of crimes registered in Russia, according to the police. Mass public shootings are also relatively rare, however, there have been several such cases in the last three years.

In November 2012, a Moscow lawyer shot six of his coworkers to death in an office over a broken relationship with a female colleague. Before the rampage, he also posted an online ‘hate manifesto’ on his Facebook page. The killer obtained a firearms certificate illegally, and it allowed him to carry two sporting guns to the scene of the crime – one of which turned out to be a rifle with 200 rounds of ammunition.

Another case that sparked public outrage and enjoyed unprecedented media attention in Russia was a shooting spree and hostage drama in a Moscow supermarket staged by a district police department chief.

The ‘killer cop’ gunned down two people and endangered lives of 22 others, injuring seven in the massacre. He also used an illegally-kept pistol to shoot at the approaching police and told them “it would be more fun if I had a machine gun” after he was detained.

It remained unclear, whether the policeman got drunk while celebrating his birthday, or if he had some mental disorder, which the court eventually ruled out before sentencing the man to life in prison.



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