Gunman kills Russian ambassador to Turkey at photo exhibit

A man gestures near to Andrei Karlov on ground, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. An Associated Press photographer says a gunman has fired shots at the Russian ambassador to Turkey. The ambassador's condition wasn't immediately known. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A gunman wearing a suit and tie and shouting “Allahu Akbar” shot and killed Russia’s ambassador to Turkey as he gave a speech at a photo exhibition Monday.

Turkish police fatally shot the gunman, Turkish station NTV reported.

A man gestures after shooting Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, on the floor, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. The ambassador's condition wasn't immediately known. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
A man gestures after shooting Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, on the floor, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. The ambassador’s condition wasn’t immediately known. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

The ambassador, Andrei Karlov, was several minutes into his speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when the gunman fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience. The attacker also smashed several of the photos hung for the exhibition. There was panic as people ran for cover. NTV said three other people were wounded in the attack.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Karlov was shot “when an unidentified assailant opened chaotic gunfire during a public event in Ankara.” She later confirmed he had died. She said Russia was in contact with Turkish officials about the incident.

Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek told reporters outside the exhibition center that the “heinous” attack aimed to disrupt newly-re-established relations between Turkey and Russia.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said U.S. officials were aware of reports about the shooting.

“We condemn this act of violence, whatever its source,” Kirby said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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