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Orhan Gunduz was gunned down Tuesday evening as he...

By
JERRY BERGER

SOMERVILLE, Mass. -- Orhan Gunduz was gunned down Tuesday evening as he sat in his car in heavy traffic in this suburb north of Boston. At least nine bullets were pumped into the shop owner, who held the honorary New England diplomatic post more than a decade.

Turkish Ambassador Sukru Elekdag was to lead mourners at a memorial service Friday at a Boston cemetery, followed by a march to the Statehouse by members of the Turkish-American Student Association protesting violence against Turks.

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Gunduz was gunned down Tuesday evening as he sat in his car in heavy traffic in this suburb north of Boston. At least nine bullets were pumped into the shop owner, who held the honorary New England diplomatic post more than a decade.

The Justice Commandos for Armenian Genocide claimed responsiblity for the killing, the 22nd involving Turkish diplomats or their families since 1973. The group seeks to avenge the 1915 massacre of Armenians at the hands of the Turks.

Somerville Police described the assassin as between 17 and 23, 5-foot-4, 130 pounds with dark, bushy hair and a dark complexion. Two composite sketches of the suspect -- one in which he is wearing sunglasses -- have been distributed.

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State and local authorities disclosed a part-time security watch was placed around the 60-year-old father of two, who owned an import shop in Cambridge that firebombed by the same terrorist group March 22.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said Wednesday his office sought federal protection for Gunduz, but was told the FBI does not protect diplomats. A Frank spokesman said they were told that such a job of protections was the duty of the State Department.

The department has made no official comment, but sources said Gunduz -- as a permanent resident alien and not a member of the Turkish Foreign Service -- was ineligible for government protection. Published reports, however, indicated the department contacted two local police departments to arrange surveillance.

Published reports Thursday indicated the FBI, which investigated the March firebombing, told Gunduz he should vary the route he took from Cambridge to his Nahant, Mass., home, but he apparently ignored the advice.

The FBI would not confirm the report.

According to his attorney, Barry Hoffman, Gunduz also rejected suggestions to carry a gun because he was 'a shopkeeper ... not a gunfighter.'

'Gunduz said he knew someday 'they'll come after me.' I'm a shopkeeper and a diplomat, not a gunfighter. Even if one carries a revolver in the face of a professional assassin, there's nothing anyone can do,' Hoffman said.

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