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U.S. consulate employee shoots dead 2 armed men in Pakistan, police say

The U.S. employee in Lahore says he fired when two men approached on a motorcycle, one of them brandishing a pistol. A bystander is killed by another consulate vehicle arriving at the scene. The shooting could spark an anti-U.S. backlash.

January 27, 2011|By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan — An employee of the U.S. consulate in Lahore shot and killed two armed Pakistani men on a motorcycle Thursday in what the employee told police was an act of self-defense after the men approached his car and one of them brandished a pistol, authorities said.

A bystander was also killed when he was struck by another consulate vehicle arriving at the scene, police said.

The shooting, which occurred late in the afternoon at a heavily congested intersection, could spark a backlash against the United States, which is already seen by many here as a superpower that exploits Pakistan and tramples on its sovereignty. Not long after the incident, angry crowds burned tires outside the Lahore police station where the consulate employee was being questioned and shouted anti-U.S. slogans.

Police said it was unclear what the intentions were of the two men who approached the employee's white sedan. Aslam Tareen, Lahore's police chief, said in a television interview that the employee told them he was stopped at a traffic light when the two men pulled up along the right side of the car, then drove around to the other side.

One of the men on the motorcycle then pulled out a handgun, Tareen said. The consulate employee pulled out his own handgun and fired at the two men several times. One of the men died at the scene and the other later at a local hospital. Tareen said the second man on the motorcycle also had a pistol, and that both handguns were loaded.

The employee, an American citizen, then called colleagues in a second consulate car nearby, which rushed to the intersection. That second car struck and killed a bystander, Obeid ur-Rehman, Tareen said.

Tareen identified the employee as Raymond Davis, though that could not be immediately confirmed with U.S. officials.

In Islamabad, U.S. Embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez said the American involved in the shooting was an employee at the consulate in Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city, but he added that he had no further details about what had happened. Tareen said the employee involved in the shooting described himself as a technical advisor at the consulate.

Tareen did not say what happened to the driver of the second consulate vehicle. He added that investigators were trying to determine whether both men in the consulate vehicles were protected by diplomatic immunity, as well as whether the employee involved in the shooting acted in self-defense.

"This is something we have to find out," Tareen said. "We can't say yet."

alex.rodriguez@latimes.com

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