Russia's 'GTA Gang' Was As Cartoonishly Violent As They Sound
Plenty of video games base their characters on real-life criminal organizations, games like Mafia, Yakuza, and Bible Adventures. But in 2014, the concept was turned on its head when the media started warning Russian citizens of the dangers of the GTA gang, named after the popular series of video games where, according to that same media, you go around stealing cars, killing, and killing with stolen cars. For once, the comparison was apt.
The GTA gang's M.O. involved targeting random motorists, disabling their cars with homemade caltrops before robbing and point-and-clicking them to death with modded guns, racking up 17 kill counts in a year. Was this gang as randomly chaotic as the average GTA character? Not quite. Led by an Uzbeki Islamic radical and former ISIL terrorist, Ibaydullo Subkhanov AKA Rustam Usmanov, the random grand murder auto's were meant as a training tool for terrorism. Subkhanov ordered members to kill innocent drivers to prove they were cool enough to join the gang. In response to the wanton violence, Russian vigilantes, wanting to get in on the Niko Bellic action, started patrolling the streets in bands of armed men, turning the M9 highway into a real-life battle royale. (At least, the first five minutes of one, when nothing actually happens).
What was chaotic was their spectacular and violent demise. Subkhanov was finally unable to escape the ever-expanding cop radius on November 6th, 2014, when a large scale police raid hit the villa he was staying in. Befitting his reputation, Subkhanov opened negotiations by lobbing a grenade at the police before being wasted by a sniper bullet. After an epic firefight, the remaining members were busted by the police. But this is still the GTA gang we're talking about, so these maniacs weren't planning on going down without a ridiculously one-sided fight.
During the trial of five GTA members on charges of murder, banditry, robbery, and arms trafficking, the cuffed culprits managed to choke out their guards and take their weapons, commencing a firefight in the courthouse between them and the heavily armed Russian National Guard. Three guards were heavily wounded, while all five gang members were turned into bullet pinatas, three bleeding out on the court steps. In the aftermath, the gang's remaining survivors were almost unanimously sentenced to life without parole, finally ending their 5-star-wanted streak in utter ignominy.
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Top Image: Rockstar Games, Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation