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Tuesday, September 20, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Gunman Opens Fire In Beijing -- Iranian Diplomat, Son Killed; 30 Hurt

AP

BEIJING - An Iranian diplomat, his son and six other people were killed today by a man who opened fire with an assault rifle on a major Beijing street, an official report said. More than 30 people were wounded.

It was unclear if those killed or wounded were hit by the gunman or caught in the crossfire as he battled with police.

The shootings were highly unusual in a nation that keeps tight grip on its citizens, relies heavily on the death penalty to punish criminals, and strictly enforces a ban on guns. But violent crime has increased with the country's transition to market economy, which has created social disparity and widened access to guns.

Police and government officials reached by phone refused to talk about the shootings, which occurred as morning rush hour began. The official Xinhua News Agency report - which said 30 people were injured - was brief, and the Beijing Evening News mentioned the incident briefly on its front page. In China, crime is usually not covered in detail by the state-controlled media until it is solved.

Witnesses said a man carrying an automatic rifle ran down the middle of Beijing's Second Ring Road, shooting intermittently. Police killed the gunman on the spot, the Xinhua report said.

Officials at the Iranian Embassy said an attache, Yousef Mohammadi Pishknari, and one of his sons were among the victims. Another of the attache's sons was shot in the leg, and two of his daughters were taken to a hospital, the Xinhua report said.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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