A man who has been on the run for five days until he was finally captured following a shoot-out in Larnaca yesterday, will be taken before the Larnaca District Court at 11am where investigators will request to keep him custody for eight days.
Andreas Onoufriou, 63, had been a wanted man since April 25 when he fired his army-issued G-3 assault rifle into the air outside his Limassol apartment when police demanded to search his premises.
He then escaped and managed to evade the authorities for almost five days. He even managed to collect his four-year-old son, who was being looked after by his two sisters, less than 24 hours before his capture. His pursuit finally came to an end when he was arrested outside a farmhouse in Layia – where he was reportedly hiding – but not before he fired shots at police officers moving in on him. According to reports, he also had his young son with him at the time of the shooting but let go of his hand ran down an embankment when police fired warning shots back.
He was eventually wrestled to the ground by police and put under arrest. Officers had initially gone to ex-convict Onoufriou’s apartment after receiving a tip-off that he had guns and cash – from a recent bank robbery – in his home.
Police Spokesman Andreas Angelides confirmed that another two men have also been detained while further arrests cannot be ruled out.
“In light of the ongoing investigations and the statements being taken, it is possible that we could have new arrests”, he said. “Apart from the main suspect, another two individuals have been placed under arrest. They are a 63-year-old owner of the farmhouse in Layia and a 57-year-old man from Xylotympou is the owner of the hunting rifle that was found in the same house.”
Speaking the charges investyigators are planning to file against Onoufriou, he said, “He is being charged with attempted murder as well as charges relating to illegal possession of firearms.”
After his arrest, Onoufriou was taken to Larnaca General Hospital as a “precautionary measure”.
Commenting on how the police managed to track down Onoufriou to Layia, Angelides said, “From the first day, we have been accumulating and acting on every information with regards to reports on the suspect’s whereabouts. After putting together all of the information, we came to the conclusion that the suspect was likely at a specific location. A raid took place at that area and this in turn led to his arrest.”
His four-year-old son is currently in the hands of the welfare services while the boy’s mother and Onoufriou’s Vietnamese partner is currently in police custody.
Onoufriou’s criminal activities in the past have made him well-known throughout Cyprus.
Back in 1998, Onoufriou was jailed for 18 years for the attempted murder of a judge and his daughter.
Limassol judge Michalis Mavronicolas and his five-year-old daughter at the time suffered injuries after the bomb detonated beneath his car. The Criminal Court at the time had heard that their lives were spared “by sheer luck”.
The court had also heard how the intended victim had previously presided over a debt-settling dispute in which Onoufriou was involved.
Last year, Onoufriou and two other men were arrested on suspicion of plotting to assassinate former attorney general Petros Clerides using a disposable light anti-tank weapon. The charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence.