Land Official Gunned Down

A senior city land management official was gunned down near his northern Moscow apartment in a possible contract murder, the Investigative Committee said Monday.

Alexei Dergachyov, head of the land management department at the prefect's office of the Central Administrative District, was shot dead by unidentified assailants at around 12:30 a.m. Sunday on Ulitsa Usiyevicha, near the Sokol metro station, committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement.

Investigators have opened a murder investigation and are "not excluding" the possibility Dergachyov's murder was connected to his work, Markin said in the statement.

A city police spokesman confirmed that Dergachyov was murdered but declined to give any details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Dergachyov, 29, had been responsible for managing state-owned property in the Central Administrative District, where much of the city's most expensive real estate is located.

His department supervises and manages land leases with builders, commercial firms and government organizations, among other entities.

Citing law enforcement sources, Gazeta.ru reported Monday that Dergachyov had returned to his home early Sunday morning after driving his wife and 3-year-old son to the airport.

After parking his Mercedes, Dergachyov made it to the entrance of his apartment building when two assailants shot him 10 times with Baikal air pistols configured to fire real bullets and fled the scene, Gazeta.ru reported.

The shadows of the presumed killers were captured by an adjacent building's surveillance camera, the report said.

Dergachyov was carrying a large sum of money with him when he was killed, none of which was stolen, Gazeta.ru cited the sources as saying.