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Photographer Recalls Witnessing Killing Of Russian Ambassador To Turkey

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

As news of Ambassador Karlov's assassination broke yesterday, chilling images came out as well. One photo shows the gunman, clean-shaven in a dark suit and tie, a pistol clenched in his right hand, trigger finger extended. He's shouting as he points with his left hand towards the sky. Karlov's body lies behind him. The ambassador's face is not visible. Instead, you see the worn soles of his shoes. Against the wall under one of the art exhibit's photographs lies a pair of glasses.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The photographer who captured that moment, Burhan Ozbilici of The Associated Press, spoke about it in a video released by the AP.

BURHAN OZBILICI: I heard very loud shot. I could not count. It was two loud and, it was like a movie - like in theater. I heard minimum five, six shot, and people run away. I also got back.

SHAPIRO: He moved back but continued taking photos, even as the gunmen circled the body and fired again at close range. Later, as Ozbilici edited his photos, he saw something he hadn't noticed before. When the ambassador spoke at the podium, the gunman stood just behind him. Ozbilici says he looked like a friend or a bodyguard.

OZBILICI: He has a very calm mood. I could not imagine he could be gunman.

SIEGEL: In an essay Burhan Ozbilici wrote for the AP, he shared the thoughts he'd had amid the terror. I'm here, he wrote. Even if I get hit and injured or killed, I'm a journalist. I have to do my work. I could run away without making any photos, but I wouldn't have a proper answer if people later asked me - why didn't you take pictures? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.