Bizarre tragic blast at cemetery leads to murder suspect

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Police have detained a 43-year-old man in connection with Wednesday’s explosion at the Jaunciems Cemetery in Riga on suspicion of murder, after determining that the blast was not an accident.

State Police spokesman Toms Sadovsksis told LETA Friday that scene investigators got information soon after the device went off which helped them find the man, who has a previous criminal record for causing deliberate damage to private property when he set fire to an automobile. He was immediately taken into custody and the court has approved the police request for his detention as a murder suspect. He is a nearby resident of the Jaunciems lakeside  neighborhood in Riga's northern district.

Reports that the explosive device may have been a hand grenade were later refuted by the police. The State Police have launched a criminal investigation into the possibly malicious intent behind the incident, and have acquired video surveillance footage of the cemetery for study.

Yesterday the Riga City Council requested the National Armed Forces to sweep the graveyard for possible further explosive hazards hidden under the topsoil.

The victim had arrived with his wife to tend to a relative’s grave, however the explosion detonated at a nearby gravesite which the man had for unknown reasons decided to approach. At this point police do not believe the explosion was deliberately targeted against him, “but there is a possibility that the act may have been premeditated,” Criminal Police division chief Andrejs Grišins told LETA.

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