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Former employee carried out European Navigation shooting

European Navigation European-Navigation.jpg
Four people died when a disgruntled former employee went on a shooting rampage at a shipping company in the southern Athens suburb of Glyfada on the morning of February 12.

The gunman entered the building of the Karnessis family-controlled European Navigation, seemingly searching for his victims and opened fire, resulting in the deaths of three individuals, owner of the company Maria Karnesi, aged 77, its md Antonis Vlassakis, who was married to Maria’s sister, and ship captain Ilias Koukoularis an employee in the company’s accounts department.

The disgruntled former employee after killing the woman and the two men turned the weapon on himself and committed suicide.

According to witnesses, the perpetrator, identified as 76-year-old Egyptian national Adel El Bourai, a former long-time employee of the shipping company owners’ residences, was in a state of frenzy and brandishing the carbine, shouting, “I’ve come to settle things!”

The company historically is the owner and manager of an average fleet of about 35 vessels spanning from chemical tankers to VLCCs and handysize to large VLOCs and product carriers.

According to information, motives behind the attack were both personal and professional, as the gunman had recently been made redundant after working for nearly 36 years as a caretaker of the owners’ residences.

The incident prompted a hostage situation. Police, members of the elite counter-terrorism unit EKAM, fire engines, and ambulances stationed outside the building, and police cordoned off a wider area around it.

 “I heard the gunshots, I heard the first two. I headed towards the stairs to see what was happening. I saw two guys coming down; they said, ‘It’s Aris with a gun, he’s shooting.’ Of course, I dashed outside, towards the garden, and made my way out through the back door of the garage,” a witness, identified as a company worker, told journalists outside the building. 

Two employees of the company were transferred to the hospital, as they were in a distressed psychological state.

A preliminary investigation is underway by the Department of Homicide and Personal Freedom Crimes of the Attica Security Directorate.

According to police estimates, a reason why relations between the Egyptian caretaker and the Karnessis family soured is the legal dispute between the 85-year-old shipowner Spyros Karnesis and his two sisters, 79-year-old Despina 79, and Maria, over a financial dispute involving property worth some $325m.

This domestic dispute is believed to have affected the caretaker, who in the past had maintained good relations with all of them.