Fears gangland murder could trigger more violence

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Police are on high alert, fearing a suspected gangland murder of 55-year-old Thanasis Kalogeropoulos in Limassol could launch a new blood cycle in the city.

Police have shifted the focus of their inquiries into the motive behind the contract killing to the victim’s dealings in his professional life and open disputes, attributing the murder to an effort to settle scores.

The head of the Limassol Crime Investigation Department, Lefteris Kyriakou, said: “The murder was a result of a well-thought-out and meticulously planned operation, executed at the opportune moment by the perpetrators”.

The victim was known to the authorities, as he was also a witness in two other alleged gangland-related murder cases in the past decade.

Monday’s shooting took place on Amathus Beach Avenue in Limassol, with the assailants appearing to have intricate knowledge of the victim’s routines, as it was reported he frequented this specific location for swimming.

The killing was executed with ruthless precision, with the two assailants taking no chances.

Kalogeropoulos was shot at close range several times. Authorities have yet to determine the number of bullets shot at the victim.

He sustained injuries to his head and various parts of his body, which will be examined by coroners Angeliki Papetta and Orthodoxos Orthodoxou, who are expected to carry out an autopsy on Tuesday.

Friends and relatives of the deceased have already been questioned, with some telling officers they had warned him to take protective measures, advice he did not heed.

Police will also review surveillance footage of the victim leaving his residence in Parekklisia, retracing his route, and checking his phone conversations.

Closed-circuit cameras will also be examined to trace the perpetrators’ path to the crime scene, their escape route, and the remote location where the burnt vehicle used in the murder was found.

The vehicle used by the presumed killers, believed to be more than three individuals, was reported stolen on October 7 in Limassol.

Kalogeropoulos, a father of three underaged daughters, had just dropped his children off at school before meeting his untimely end.

The 55-year-old had a routine of daily swimming and walking in the Agios Tychonas area and socialising with friends at a local café.

Upon arriving at the café’s parking lot on the busy Limassol avenue, the victim engaged in a brief conversation with a friend before one of the assailants opened fire with a pistol.

Despite being wounded, the 55-year-old attempted to flee, driving a short distance before a second gunman, positioned with a Kalashnikov approximately two metres away, fired the fatal shots.

The victim’s vehicle collided with a wall, witnessed by horrified workers and bathers.