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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

St. Pete Official Killed by Bomb on Doorstep

ST. PETERSBURG -- A high-ranking official responsible for providing municipal services in St. Petersburg was killed early Monday in a bombing that was believed to be a contract hit.

Yevgeny Agaryov, 53, the deputy chairman of the northern city's committee on markets, was killed by a blast that detonated as he descended the stairs from his sixth-floor apartment, authorities said. Police believe the explosive device was radio-controlled.

Neighbors were awakened by the blast. "It was very loud. I was getting my girls ready for school. We've been scared by this happening, of course," said Lyuba Seluanova, 40, a metal worker.

Police would not confirm that they are treating the incident as a contract killing, but Irina Alabyeva, a spokesman for the local Emergency Situations Ministry, said it probably was.

One of Agaryov's main areas of responsibility was funerals. The burial business in St. Petersburg has the reputation of being mafia-ridden and involving large sums of money.

Dozens of St. Petersburg businessmen and government officials have been killed in recent years, many of them in apparent disputes over state property. The most notorious case was that of Mikhail Manevich, the city's privatization chief, who was gunned down on the city's main street in August 1997

The killings are blamed on organized crime and are rarely solved.