The original version of this story incorrectly identified the weapons used as “air pistols.”
MOSCOW, February 13 (RIA Novosti) – Three armed men broke out a female patient from one of Moscow’s most famous psychiatric hospitals in a daring raid believed to have been led by the woman’s fiancé, one Anton Brin, Russian media reported this week.
The woman, reportedly named Anna Pavlenkova and 32 or 34 years old, escaped from the Gannushkin Hospital after a visit from the three men on Tuesday, according to a number of local media reports.
The four attempted to leave together, but when hospital staff intervened the men sprayed some sort of gas and shot into the air with unidentified nonlethal firearms, the Lenta.ru website said.
Despite an intense police search, all four were still on the run late Wednesday. Police have opened a criminal case, tentatively classifying the incident as “hooliganism,” a Moscow police spokesman told RIA Novosti.
The escape was allegedly led by Pavlenkova’s fiancé, Brin, 26, after her relatives placed her in the hospital – on a street whose Russian name means “funny” – against her will, reportedly citing her strange behavior and tendency to wander aimlessly, which led to a diagnosis of “psychosis,” local media said. The date of her hospitalization was not clear.
“If the hospitalization was unjustified, the doctors will bear criminal responsibility,” Yury Polishchuk, the head of the hospital’s clinical unit, who hadn’t met the patient, was quoted by Lenta.ru as saying.
Russian media had fun with the story, running it under headlines such as “One Flew Over the Gannushkin Nest” and “Romeo Faces 7 Years for Kidnapping Juliet from a Psychiatric Hospital.”
Indeed, if found guilty on the hooliganism charge, the perpetrators could face up to seven years behind bars.