Russian ambassador to Turkey shot dead while attending Ankara photo exhibition (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT)

The suspected gunman gestures as Andrei Karlov lays on ground following the attack. (BURHAN OZBILICI/AP)
The suspected gunman gestures as Andrei Karlov lays on ground following the attack. (BURHAN OZBILICI/AP)

A suit and tie-clad gunman opened fire on Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition in Ankara Monday, assassinating the diplomat in front of a shocked crowd.

Andrei Karlov was taken to a nearby hospital following the grisly shooting, but was later pronounced dead, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted “Allahu akbar” and fired multiple shots, striking Karlov.

See video of attack 

The attacker continued shouting and pointing his gun as Karlov lay wounded and attendees cowered in fear.

The gunman was later shot and killed by Turkish police.

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

Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek told reporters that the “heinous” attack aimed to disrupt newly-re-established relations between Turkey and Russia.

Andrei Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when he was attacked. (ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES)
Andrei Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when he was attacked. (ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES)

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby issued a statement following the attack.

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

Karlov – who was married with a son – started his diplomatic career in 1976 and served in diplomatic posts to Korea before being named ambassador to Turkey in 2013.

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