Witnesses recall deadly shootout in E.China

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, January 7, 2011
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The small city of Tai'an in east China's Shandong Province became well-known overnight because of a shootout in which three police officers died.

While cars and taxis displayed yellow ribbons Thursday to mourn the dead, witnesses to the gunfight discussed what they saw.

"I was on my way home from the market when I heard several bangs. They sounded like firecrackers," said a lady surnamed Wu. She heard the noises when passing a cadre sanatorium.

Then she heard cries. "'Someone is shot!' they shouted," Wu recalled.

One bloody hour

Police were tipped off that 52-year-old Liu Lumin, who was suspected of committing murder on Dec. 29, 2010, was hiding in his younger brother's home in the sanatorium. The 50-year-old younger brother's name was Liu Jianjun.

The incident happened at about 11:20 a.m. Tuesday, when several unarmed police officers went to the sanatorium to investigate.

"After we identified ourselves and told of our intentions, the two suspects suddenly fired at us from inside a security door," said Xu Zhigang, vice head of the Public Security Bureau of Tai'an.

Three police officers were shot.

In the yard, there was a pool of blood. A sanatorium guard said it was the blood of 24-year-old Li Liang, who was killed in the shootout.

"After he was shot, he managed to seize a dagger from the suspect," the guard said.

Liu Xiangmei works in a supermarket opposite the sanatorium.

"A man rushed out from the yard of the sanatorium, apparently with wounded legs," she said.

The victim, later identified as 36-year-old police officer Xia Bo, was followed by two others holding shotguns. Xia, talking on the mobile phone, tried to take shelter in a nearby shop.

"But I heard shots from the shop," Liu said.

The two gunmen then hijacked a red car.

"It was horrible," said a peddler surnamed Wang. "The female driver of the car took out the key and ran away."

The pair then walked "calmly" down the street, Wang said, the shorter one wearing a gray coat clutching a double-barreled shotgun.

"Later they hijacked a black Santana, dragging the driver out of the vehicle before fleeing north," the witness said.

The two gunmen then hijacked a green SUV. The vehicle crashed into a squad car at about 12:10 p.m. in the downtown area of the city, according to the owner of a tea shop.

"The car hit the pedestrian lane and crumpled," the witness said.

The SUV was going so fast that when it rammed into a tree, the tree was knocked over.

The suspects later hijacked a white minivan. "A man was thrown out of the vehicle, with a bloodied head," a shopkeeper said.

Qi Honghai, a 48-year-old traffic police officer, died in the manhunt.

The gunmen were stopped by police at about 12:20 p.m., when the minivan they had hijacked hit the tricycle of fruit peddler Wang Yushan.

"A man dashed out of the van and three police officers tried to arrest him," Wang said.

"Then another man got out of the van with a long gun," he said.

The gunmen continued to fire after police cornered them, wounding more police officers.

Liu Lumin then shot and killed himself while his younger brother was taken into custody.

According to police sources, the suspects hijacked seven vehicles during their escape, injuring two drivers.

Two civilians and six other police officers were wounded in the incident. One is still in a critical condition.

A double-barrelled shotgun, a pistol, a dagger and more than 180 bullets were recovered.

The brothers were both unemployed. Liu Luming was detained for five days for theft in 2008. Liu Jianjun served two prison terms between 1985 and 2000, once for theft and once for assault. He divorced and has a three-year-old son. It was not clear why he attacked police.

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