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Russian Weapons Designer Shot Dead on Street

A weapons designer at a Russian defense industry enterprise that makes rifles, grenade launchers and other arms was shot dead on a city street in a contract-style killing, law enforcement authorities and media reports said.

The deputy chief designer at the research and production facility in Tula, an arms-producing city south of Moscow, was found dead with a bullet wound in his head Wednesday evening, the Investigative Committee said.

State television identified the victim as Vyacheslav Trukhachev and said investigators believe the killing may have been related to his job at the Central Sports and Hunting Weapons Research and Design Bureau.

Officials did not cite a potential motive. Russian business is plagued by corruption, and disputes are sometimes resolved through contract killings.

Trukhachev was shot while walking home from work on Tula's Krasnoarmeisky Prospekt, and the killing was captured on a surveillance camera, senior regional investigator Tatyana Sergeyeva said, Interfax reported.

She said the gunman was not wearing a mask but fled the scene immediately. It was not clear whether he acted alone or had help. The street was well-lit and not deserted, and police were looking for eyewitnesses.

Russia's defense industry, the world's second-largest arms exporter, has been under increasing scrutiny since a $95 million corruption scandal involving a defense agency broke earlier this month. Anatoly Serdyukov was dismissed as defense minister in the wake of the scandal and replaced by Sergei Shoigu.

Trukhachev's job involved the design and development of weapons, not sales, Sergeyeva said.

Officials at the enterprise where he worked declined to comment.

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