Photographer Who Saw Russian Ambassador Killed: Only There Because It Was on Way Home From Office

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A photographer with the Associated Press said that the only reason he was at the art gallery where the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was assassinated on Monday was because he was on his way home from his office.

Burhan Ozbilici captured images of the harrowing shooting in Ankara that showed the event unfolding.

"An AP photographer in the room took these photos. He said he only went there because the event was on his way home from his office," CBS's Norah O'Donnell reported on Tuesday.

She then detailed what the photographer described as the scene was unfolding in front of him.

"He said after the shots, ‘People screamed, hid behind columns and under tables and lay on the floor," O'Donnell said. "‘I was afraid and confused, but found partial cover behind a wall and did my job taking photographs.'"

On Monday, Ambassador Karlov spoke at an art gallery opening where there were photographs that showed Russia through the eyes of the Turkish people.

As Karlov was speaking, 22-year-old Mevlut Mert Altintas, an off-duty Turkish police officer, shot the ambassador in the back multiple times.

The gunman shouted "God is great" in Arabic and yelled about Aleppo, Syria after he fatally shot the ambassador.

"Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria! As long as our brothers are not safe, you will not enjoy safety," the gunman said, according to footage of the shooting. "Whoever has a share in this oppression will pay for it one-by-one."

Altintas, who was soon shot dead by police, appeared to be motivated by Russia's involvement in the Syrian conflict and violence in Aleppo, but investigations are underway to find out exactly what happened and what motivated it.

Chandler Gill

Chandler Gill   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Chandler Gill is a Media Analyst for the Free Beacon. Before joining the Free Beacon, she interned at the Heritage Foundation. Chandler went to Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied Political Science. She was raised in Wassenaar, The Netherlands. In her free time, Chandler enjoys reading and walking around the D.C. area. Her twitter handle is @chandlergillDC.

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