Lahore , the second largest city of Pakistan, was scene of anti-America demonstrations Thursday after Raymond David, a US Consulate official, shot at and killed two young motorcyclists while another motorcyclist was run over by his colleagues riding another car, according Pakistan media reports.
Frontier post quoted an eyewitness as saying that David came out of his car all of a sudden and opened
fire at the motorcyclists in town's busy Mazang area. Soon after the firing
David managed to escape but got stuck in a traffic mess where the people
stopped his vehicle and held him before handing over to the police said other
David told the police that the armed motorcyclists wanted to rob him on gunpoint and he just shot them to save his life.
Police said the American used a
radio to call colleagues for help immediately after the shooting and a second
consular car turned up to rescue him which hit and killed a passer-by motorcyclist
as it rushed to the scene. Police said the Prado used by David's other
colleagues bore a fake registration number (LZN-6970) which was originally
issued to a Suzuki Cultus car.
David was traveling in a rented car and not in a diplomatic
car. Police recovered from David's possession a 9mm Glock pistol he had used to
shoot the youngsters.
People were astonished to know that David could also speak Urdu when he said: 'Main Ne Apni Jan Bachany Ke Liye Inhain Mara Hay' (I killed them in self defense).
Thousands of people came out on road, protesting against the killings and chanting slogans against America. They also demanded the police to hand over the "criminal' to them so that they can do justice with their own hands. The incident sparked anti-American protests in different parts of the city while the religious parties have announced protests today (1/28) after Friday prayers.
The Daily Nation reporting the incident under the title, "American Rambo' goes berserk in City, said the killer was an undercover US spy who is working as technical adviser at the US Consulate General in Lahore.
The US Consulate confirmed the incident and issued an initial statement on the evening of January 27, saying: "The American National responded in self defense, the motorcyclists tried to rob Raymond David, the third person was accidentally killed by the rescue vehicle that was rushing to save David, further details will be disclosed after investigation."
A senior police officer told Dawn that Raymond David was among four people who were detained by security personnel near Lahore's Sherpao Bridge on Dec 9, 2009, when they were trying to enter the Cantonment area in a vehicle with tinted glasses. They were armed with sophisticated weapons while no member of a diplomatic mission in the country is allowed to carry arms. The intervention of the US consulate led to their release, the officer recalled.
The daily Dawn reported informed sources as saying that at the instructions of the government Raymond David was shifted from police custody to the US consulate.
AFP reported from Washington that the United States said Thursday it will try hard to ensure there is no anti-American backlash from a shooting incident in which a US consular worker was charged with the murder of two Pakistani men.
"We want to make sure that a tragedy like this does not affect the strategic partnership that we're building with Pakistan," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters. "And we'll work as hard as we can to explain that to the Pakistani people," Crowley said.
Ironically, the incident happened when President Asif Ali Zardari was meeting in Islamabad the senior adviser to US President and NSC Senior Director for Economics David Lipton.
The BBC correspondent in Pakistan said that the incident may add to anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. The correspondent said questions are certain to be asked as to why the American was carrying arms and why, if he was a diplomat, he was not provided with armed protection.
Washington Post blogger Jeff Stein, writing under the title - Lahore shootout: Spy rendezvous gone bad? -" quoted a senior former U.S. diplomatic security agent suggesting that the American involved in a fatal shootout in Lahore, Pakistan, was the victim of a spy meeting gone awry, not the target of a robbery or car-jacking attempt. "It looks like an informant meet gone bad more than a car-jacking attempt," said Fred Burton, a former deputy chief of the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service's counter-terrorism division.