Gunman kills Russian ambassador to Turkey at photo exhibit

A gunman wearing a suit and tie and shouting "Allahu Akbar" has shot and killed Russia's ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A gunman opened fire on Russia's ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A gunman opened fire on Russia's ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici) (12/19/16)

ANKARA, Turkey - A gunman wearing a suit and tie and shouting "Allahu Akbar" shot and killed Russia's ambassador to Turkey as he gave a speech at a photo exhibition Monday.

Turkish police fatally shot the gunman, Turkish station NTV reported.

The ambassador, Andrei Karlov, was several minutes into his speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when the gunman fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience. The attacker also smashed several of the photos hung for the exhibition. There was panic as people ran for cover. NTV said three other people were wounded in the attack.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Karlov was shot "when an unidentified assailant opened chaotic gunfire during a public event in Ankara." She later confirmed he had died. She said Russia was in contact with Turkish officials about the incident.

Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek told reporters outside the exhibition center that the "heinous" attack aimed to disrupt newly-re-established relations between Turkey and Russia.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said U.S. officials were aware of reports about the shooting.

"We condemn this act of violence, whatever its source," Kirby said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."

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