A second mass slaughter in less than three months in southern Russia left eight people in the household of a reputed mafia don dead, although the killers missed an 8-year-old boy and a newborn, news reports said.
Vladimir Slizayev, 60, nicknamed “Khan,” was killed in his house in the city of Stavropol on Friday along with a daughter, three other relatives, a driver, a babysitter and a dog breeder, Interfax reported, citing the police. Gun-shot and stab wounds were found on the bodies of the victims, who other than Slizayev were not identified.
Two of Slizayev's grandchildren, the boy and the newborn, survived the slaughter, an Investigative Committee spokesman said, without elaborating or providing their names, RIA-Novosti reported.
Several news reports said the attackers missed the children because they were on the second floor of the house, while the other victims were on the first floor. But Lifenews.ru said the older child escaped and hid in the bushes in the yard, while the infant was to be killed by a blast that the killers hoped to carry out by leaving the gas vents in the house open.
A funeral has been scheduled for Monday, Interfax said, citing an unidentified family friend.
Jewelry and antiques were stolen from the house, and the attackers tried to open a safe but failed, Gazeta.ru said.
The Investigative Committee, which has opened a criminal case into the killings, said Slizayev was suspected of trafficking illegal drugs and had served prison time.
“Slizayev was a so-called 'criminal authority' involved in drug trafficking, according to police data. He had numerous criminal convictions,” the committee said in a statement on its web site Saturday.
Police believe the attack was prompted by a conflict between criminal gangs but have not ruled out the possibility that it might be simple robbery, a law enforcement source told RIA-Novosti.
Another source said composite pictures of suspects have been provided to local police, Interfax reported Saturday. He did not elaborate.
Slizayev survived an attempt on his life in 2003 that killed his wife. The attack was blamed on a rival gang, and most of its members were imprisoned last year, news reports said.
Twelve people were killed in the neighboring Krasnodar regional village of Kushchyovskaya in an attack on a local farmer's family in November that shook the country. Eleven people have been detained, all of them suspected members of a criminal gang that has terrorized the village for years.
A Stavropol government official denied any link between the mass murder in Kushchyovskaya and Friday's killings, saying these are “fundamentally different events,” RIA-Novosti reported.