Two dead in northeastern Latvia after ice hockey dispute takes violent turn

A dispute between three men over hockey turned into a brutal fight with two men dead and one under arrest, the Latvijas Avīze daily reported May 26.

According to the daily, on the morning of May 17 three men met at a private garden in the center of Gulbene, a town in northeastern Latvia about 190 km from the capital Rīga.

The men – two unemployed people and a pensioner – started drinking and talking about hockey, in particular about Latvia's loss against Czech Republic in the world championships and the national team's potential performance in the upcoming game against team Russia. 

Their talk is said to have turned into an argument, which came to blows resulting in the death of a 1961-born man on the scene.

An ambulance was called twice, and on the second time a 1969-born man was found lying in a secluded place in the garden, close to the Jaunatnes parks in central Gulbene. 

He died en route to the nearby Balvi hospital. 

The third man, a 1954-born individual, is said to have called the police himself over the brawl in which he participated. He is now under arrest.

The State Police confirmed that one of the men involved in the dispute had in fact called the police on his own accord. 

"It is difficult to surmise what may have transpired in his head," Ilmārs Ginevičs, the head of the State Police department in Gulbene told Latvijas Avīze, referring to the surviving man.

But the police did not comment the case in detail.

A criminal case has been started over causing grievous bodily harm that has led to an unintended death of a person. This crime carries a penalty of up to 15 years behind bars.

Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports games in Latvia, and each year thousands upon thousands follow team Latvia's performance on screens or on-site. 

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