Samara Judge Wounded in Shooting

The Samara region's top judge was shot and wounded in an apparent assassination attempt Tuesday, investigators said.

An unidentified attacker opened fire on Lyubov Drozdova, chairwoman of the Samara regional court, and hit her in the stomach as she got into her car before work, the Investigative Committee said.

A hospital official, Valery Rukhlyadev, told NTV television that Drozdova was hospitalized with a gunshot wound, and NTV reported that she was in serious but stable condition after hours of surgery.

Regional health official Vladislav Romanov said Tuesday evening, however, that the seriousness of her condition prevented doctors from removing the bullet from her stomach, Interfax reported.

Investigators were looking for suspects and trying to determine a motive in the attack, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement.

Justice advocates say increasing security for judges would make them less vulnerable to bribery, threats and pressure.

Drozdova had been involved in high-profile regional cases involving politics and business deals, according to media reports.