MOSCOW, August 1 (RAPSI) – A criminal case has been opened after shooting that occurred earlier today in the building of the Moscow Regional Court, Russia's Investigative Committee announced on Tuesday.

According to preliminary information, two guards were accompanying five handcuffed defendants in an elevator inside the court building. One of the defendants attacked a guard and tried to strangle the victim while others managed to obtain weapons. On the third floor of the courtroom defendants encountered officers of the National Guard. Three defendants were killed in the shooting, two were gravely injured and hospitalized. One of the officers was shot in a shoulder and guards received multiple traumas.

Earlier, lawyer Diana Tatosova told RAPSI that defendants were members of the notorious “GTA Gang” charged with banditry, murder, robbery and other grave crimes. Lawyer Sofia Rubasskaya wrote on her Facebook page that several employees of the court were wounded and that the hearing was adjourned. People inside the building were evacuated. RAPSI does not have commentaries from the court’s representatives yet.

On August 1, 2016, nine defendants pleaded partially guilty to the charges. According to investigators, in March 2012, Ibaydullo Suyhanov organized a gang in the Moscow Region. The gang consisted of at least 15 people from Central Asian countries.

Allegedly, the gang members were behaving without raising anyone’s suspicions. They worked as taxi drivers, construction workers, guards, many of them had families.

Prosecutors claim that from 2012 to 2014 the gang committed 15 robberies resulted in the murder of 17 people and attempted murder of another two. Also, the gang members were allegedly behind numerous attacks against automobile drivers. The criminals were installing handmade spikes on the roads, causing drivers to stop, and murdered the victims for their possessions afterward, according to prosecutors.

The gang leader was killed in an armed stand-off with the police. Five other members of the gang left Russia and were put on the international wanted list.

Russian media called the perpetrators of murders in the Moscow Region and M-4 “Don” highway a “GTA gang” as a reference to the popular videogame.