LUCKNOW: Two people were killed and two others injured when unidentified armed men opened fire in a clothing store in a mall in Varanasi on Wednesday, police said. Those injured were admitted to the hospital and are critical, they added.
According to police officers familiar with the initial investigations, the assailants walked into the store in the crowded mall on Wednesday and asked to meet with a person, who has not been identified by the police yet. As one of them was brandishing a pistol, the store manager confronted him which reportedly led to a scuffle.
During the ensuing chaos, two accomplices of the armed man pulled out their own guns and opened fire indiscriminately. The trio then fled into the panicked crowd in the mall and are on the run, one of the officers added.
Senior district administration and police officials including District Magistrate Surendra Singh, Inspector General Vijay Singh Meena and Senior Superintendent of Police Anand Kulkarni rushed to the scene of the incident.
Those injured were identified as Vishal Singh and Chandan Sharma. The deceased were identified as Sunil and Gopi. They were declared dead upon arrival at the hospital.
The district police have launched an investigation and sealed the showroom. A pistol possibly left behind by the miscreants, and 13 used cartridges were recovered from the spot.
The police are also sifting through CCTV footage from the mall and the store to ascertain the identity of the killers. "Several teams have been set up and a manhunt has been launched...” said officers who were part of the investigation.
IG Meena claimed the initial probe indicated a dispute over discount as a cause for the incident. Police officials claimed that they were probing the incident keeping two theories in mind. One, that the scuffle was a result of an argument over the discount options at the store and the other that the assailants were known to the salesman at the store.