An attempted escape from a Moscow courthouse has left three gang members dead, authorities said Tuesday.
Russia's Investigative Committee said the ill-fated incident occurred at the Moscow Regional Court as the defendants were being escorted under guard in an elevator. Officials say a suspect attacked one of the guards and tried to strangle him before the defendants seized the weapons from the guards.
A shootout with court guards erupted once the elevator doors opened, leaving three of the suspects dead and two wounded. At least two guards also were injured, authorities said.
The trouble happened prior to a hearing for the defendants, who are accused of killing 17 motorists over the course of a few months in 2014.
Prosecutors said the men would lay spike strips across roads as cars were driving by, popping the tires and forcing the drivers to exit their vehicles.
When the drivers left their cars, the gang, totaling nine members, would shoot them dead, investigators said.