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Reports: Russian weapons designer shot dead in contract-style killing

MOSCOW - A weapons designer at a Russian defense industry enterprise that makes rifles, grenade launchers and other arms was shot dead on a city street in a contract-style killing, law enforcement authorities and media reports said.

The deputy chief designer at the research and production facility in Tula, an arms-producing city south of Moscow, was found dead with a bullet wound in his head on Wednesday evening, the federal Investigative Committee said.

State television identified the victim as Vyacheslav Trukhachev and said investigators believe the killing may have been related to his job at the Central Sports and Hunting Weapons Research and Design Bureau.

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Officials did not cite a potential motive, however. Russian business is plagued by corruption and disputes are sometimes resolved through contract killings.

Well-lit street
Trukhachev was shot while walking home from work on Tula's Red Army Avenue and the killing was captured on a surveillance camera, Interfax news agency quoted a senior regional investigator, Tatyana Sergeyeva, as saying.

She said the gunman was not wearing a mask but had fled the scene immediately. It was not clear whether he acted alone or had help. The well-lit street and was not deserted and police were looking for eyewitnesses.

Russia's defense industry, the world's second-largest arms exporter, has been under increasing scrutiny since a nearly $100 million corruption scandal implicated former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. He was dismissed earlier this month.

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Trukhachev's job involved the design and development of weapons, not sales, Interfax quoted Sergeyeva as saying.

Officials at the enterprise where he worked declined to comment.

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