Vladivostok, 17 April 2000 (RFE/RL) - A U.S. Marine was seriously injured after being shot in the back by a Russian outside a Vladivostok nightclub, police said Monday.
The gunman shot the victim twice in the back, injuring his bladder and prostrate and cracking his pelvis. The marine was operated on in Vladivostok and then evacuated to a military hospital in Okinawa, Japan.
The shooting occurred outside Sinyaya Zvezda nightclub early Saturday morning (400) after a dispute between five Russians and four marines. The marines serve as guards at the U.S. Consulate-General in Vladivostok. Local media allege that the Russians are members of a local criminal gang.
It was not clear what started the fight. Police said the groups clashed in the nightclub and were ordered by security guards to leave. Once outside, the two groups brawled on Vladivostok's central boulevard (Ulitsa Svetlanskaya). One of the Russians grabbed a gun from a nearby car and shot one of the marines twice in the back, police reported.
According to a Vladivostok newspaper, observers said the Russian who fired the gun screamed, "You're going to get it for Yugoslavia."
After the shooting, the other marines brought their wounded comrade to the U.S. Consulate building. Four of the Russians were immediately arrested by a patrolling police squad, and the other was detained soon after the incident.
Police spokesman Fyodor Asalkhanov said the detained Russians were too drunk to give coherent information. The U.S. Consulate refused to speak to reporters, saying it is cooperating with the police investigation.
In general, U.S. military personal have been well received in this Pacific port of 700,000 people. In recent years, American sailors who have called in port have been welcomed, and residents have mobbed sailors seeking autographs.