Bulgaria jails for life shooter who killed police officer in botched raid

A Bulgarian man who shot dead a police officer during a botched raid by law enforcement on his house has been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole by the District Court in the city of Veliko Turnovo.

Police raided the home of Petko Petkov, who repeatedly had threatened to open fire on pupils on a nearby school and was believed to have stockpiled firearms and ammunition, in March 2014.

In the course of the raid, police officer Emil Sharkov was shot dead. Petkov also was charged with having attempted to murder five other members of the police squad that raided his home, and was charged with illegal possession of ammunition.

The sentence for the murder of Sharkov was life imprisonment. For illegally possession ammunition, Petkov was sentenced to eight years in prison. Petko was ordered to pay 390 000 leva compensation to the family of Sharkov and close to 50 000 leva in court costs.

After the court’s ruling was announced on November 19 2015, Sharkov’s mother, Vanya Ripcheva, said that the decision was fair but not enough.

Ripcheva said that those who had “gambled” the police officers in the operation, who had the tasks of planning, preparation, organisation and implementation, should also face justice.

The Veliko Turnovo District Court’s ruling is subject to appeal within 15 days in the Veliko Turnovo Court of Appeal.

In the weeks after the Lyaskovets raid, both the Interior Minister of the time, Tsvetlin Yovchev, and the ministry chief secretary of the time, Svetozar Lazarov, came under severe criticism for the fiasco.

In April 2014, it was announced by Yovchev that four Interior Ministry employees were to be punished after an internal investigation into the March 14 shootout in the Bulgarian town of Lyaskovets. Yovchev himself had faced earlier calls from opposition parties for his resignation over an operation that he admitted was a failure.

Bulgarian Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov announced in March 2014 that he had ordered a complete check-up of all gun licences in the country, whether for hunting or self-defence, in the wake of the Lyaskovets shootout.

(Photo: Jason Morrison/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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