Three people being taken to stand trial in a Moscow court were shot dead after they tried to grab side-arms from court security officers and escape, Russian law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.

Five defendants were in a lift in the Moscow regional court building when they tried to seize the weapons from the officers escorting them, Tatyana Petrova, a spokeswoman for Moscow region police, told Russian state television.

She said that three of the defendants were shot as they tried to escape, and two others were wounded.

Three law enforcement officials were wounded, said Petrova and Yevgeny Kubyshkin, a spokesman for the Russian national guard, which had an officer in the court.

A lawyer for the defendants, citing the chief investigator in their case, told Reuters earlier that four of the accused had been killed in a gunfight which broke out in the building of the Moscow Regional Court.

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