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Russia captures gunman suspected of killing six


Russian police announced Wednesday the capture of a gunman suspected to have killed six people in an attack in a busy town centre, after a massive manhunt lasting more than 24 hours.

Convicted criminal Sergei Pomazun, 31, was shown on television pinned down by police who found him trying to board a freight train in the city of Belgorod, close to the Ukrainian border, where the shootings took place.

"I didn't shoot children. I was shooting at hell," said the wild-eyed man lying face-down on the ground in handcuffs in a police video broadcast on Rossiya 1 channel.

He is believed to be the gunman who opened fire in a hunting store on Monday before going outside and shooting passersby in a central square, including two girls aged 14 and 16, who both died, before fleeing.

Pomazun stabbed a policeman during his capture late Tuesday. The police major was in intensive care in hospital with non-life-threatening wounds.

Investigators said that Pomazun took a hunting rifle belonging to his father which he used to shoot dead two staff and a customer in the hunting store.

He then took another gun from the store and shot at passersby who witnessed his getaway in his father's BMW.

Rossiya 24 television reported that Pomazun had carried out the shooting in apparent revenge after staff in the store earlier in the day had refused to sell him ammunition.

His parents had recently called police twice over their son's aggressive behaviour. He had several convictions and was last released from prison in 2012 after serving time for car theft.

His father had reportedly worked as a gamekeeper and Pomazun was familiar with guns. Izvestia daily reported that he killed his six victims with just six shots.

Around 2,000 police, including riot police from Moscow, searched for the gunman in the city and the surrounding area, while townspeople piled flowers at the site of the murders.

Pomazun declined to give evidence to investigators. If convicted, he faces life in jail for mass murder.

Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev and Russia's chief investigator Alexander Bastrykin came to Belgorod to take charge of the manhunt operation and investigation.

Such shooting sprees remain rare in Russia where gun ownership is largely restricted to those in law enforcement and the military.

In November last year, a lawyer shot dead six at the pharmaceutical company where he worked after a female member of staff refused his romantic advances.

In April 2009, a drunken off-duty police major killed two and wounded seven in a Moscow supermarket. He was sentenced to life in prison.