MOSCOW – Nine luxury cars, a game of tag with police and gunfire mere meters from the heart of Moscow made for one unusual wedding. The bizarre incident ended in 15 arrested after police halted a caravan of Porsches and BMWs.
A group of wedding revelers from Russia’s North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan reportedly celebrated their nuptials by shooting at nearby passerby and cars. No one was injured by the gunfire.
Witness reported to police that shooters peered out the car windows and opened fire on nearby vehicles that attempted to pass the wedding convoy.
When a police car caught up with the motorcade of nine cars – which included a Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW, Porsche Cayenne and Land Cruiser along with a Kia and Nissan – and demanded the passengers stop and exit their vehicles. The partiers refused, and police eventually called in reinforcements and managed to stop their motorcade near the Ritz Carlton Hotel, walking distance from the Kremlin.
Police forced the wedding guests to leave their cars and confiscated several non-lethal firearms used in the shooting after searching the vehicles. At least 15 people were detained and taken to a nearby police station, where they were interrogated. They will also be investigated to see if they’re legally allowed to carry the weapons.
The owner of one of the weapons, identified as Murat Agalarov, confessed to shooting the gun, but claimed he fired into the air.
The groom and other guests maintained their innocence, and said that they had not fired any guns. One of the groom’s friends said that the allegations could be over the traffic jam their wedding caravan caused.
“I don’t know why they detained us. Someone did not like how we were driving,” the groom told the tabloid Life News.“I wonder what this all farce is about! Moscow is a big city. On our way alone we met three wedding processions! Probably we have been confused with somebody else.”
However, some reports say one of the guests did admit to firing a weapon. And the Moscow Police spokesman said his case will be handed over to the courts, which will consider revoking his firearm license. The spokesman added that after being photographed and finger-printed, all of the detained will be issued with fines and released.
Police have also called for witnesses to report any information that could aid the investigation.
Similar wedding celebration are frequently witnessed in Russia’s North Caucasus republics, like Chechnya or Dagestan, where guests often fire in the air while driving through cities and villages.
“There is a tradition in Dagestan to fire into the air to mark important events,” one of the guests said. “Guests were shooting to celebrate the wedding. Of course, you are supposed to fire in the room or at the backyard.”
There is apparently another tradition which does not allow other vehicles to pass a procession of wedding cars, which is likely the reason behind the alleged shootings.