A millionaire Russian politician is under house arrest after confessing that he accidentally killed a man he mistook for a bear.
Igor Redkin, 55, said in a statement to Russian media that he had heard there was a bear roaming at the rubbish dump in the village of Ozernovsky Village in Kamchatka.
Intending to scare the animal away, he fired his gun, but later “learned that a local resident was wounded in the area at about the same time,” he said. The shooting itself took place on August 2, and the 30-year-old man who was shot later died in hospital.
“On August 2, there occurred a tragedy that I, Igor Redkin, was involved in despite myself. In the evening, I learned that a bear was roaming a garbage dump in the village of Ozernovsky,” a statement from Igor’s lawyer reads. “The animal was potentially harmful to local residents.”
“I took a gun and decided to scare it away,” the statement continued. “I shot at the bear at dusk.”
Olga Struchenko, Igor’s lawyer, clarified that Igor had scared away two bears and the fatal incident happened when he “saw a third”.
“He was sure that he was shooting a bear, there were no people in sight,” Olga said. “It was only later that he found out that a man had been shot.”
The politician turned himself to police on August 10, days after the shooting on August 2.
“I am ready to face the punishment, which will be determined by the court,” Igor said.
The victim has been identified as 30-year-old Andrei Tolstopyatov by Kam 24.
Andrei died in a hospital from a gunshot wound. He had identified Igor as he lay critically wounded after being hit in the abdomen.
Andrei’s widow, 26-year-old Lyudmila Tolstopyatov, told The Mirror that her husband had been “earning money for the family” by collecting scrap metal at the garbage dump when the incident happened.
“He was the beacon of light for my children,” Lyudmila said.
She also said that Igor had not offered his condolences and reached out to the family.
The shot was fired with an elite $40,000 hunting rifle with special optical sights. But locals told Kam24 that it was possible Igor was shooting recklessly while drunk.
Igor, who is a fish tycoon with a reported $18 million fortune, has been put on house arrest while a criminal investigation is being conducted.
According to Russian media, the politician will spend two months under house arrest during the investigation and will be set free on October 6.
Igor is a member of the United Russia party, of which President Vladimir Putin is the de facto leader. He wrote a request to suspend his party membership.
He also withdrew his candidacy in the upcoming legislative polls, a Russian news agency said. A standing executive committee of United Russia’s political council ruled to exclude him on Tuesday.
Igor is one of the wealthiest known politicians in Russia who declares an income of $20.4 million over the past three years and is a co-owner of major companies.
According to Russian local media, Igor half-owns Vityaz-Aero, an aviation company specializing in helicopter tours to specially protected natural areas.
He owns several large fishing and aviation businesses in Kamchatka, a peninsula that hangs over the Pacific Ocean, and was considered one of the wealthiest public officials in Russia.
The shooting was one of two dreadful incidents connected to Igor to take place in recent days.
On Thursday, a helicopter owned by his private company crashed into a lake in the Kamchatka peninsula leaving eight passengers feared dead, RIA reports.
The press service of the Emergencies Ministry in Kamchatka told news agency TASS that “at 00:50 am Moscow time on August 12, 2021, information was received about a hard landing of the Mi-8 helicopter of the Vityaz-Aero company in the area of the Kuril Lake of the Kronotsky Reserve.”
The Russian Defense Ministry quickly sent a Mi-8 helicopter, alongside three underwater vehicles to the site, according to RIA. Eight people were saved but the eight remaining passengers are feared dead.
No charges have been filed regarding the shooting incident, but Kam24.ru reported that Mr. Redkin could face reduced charges of involuntary slaughter which carries a shorter possible prison sentence.
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