A hail of gunfire shattered the quiet air of a sleepy Moscow suburb when armed men spilled out of cars and opened fire with pistols and semi-automatic weapons near the ‘Yasnyy’ housing complex in the south of the Russian capital.

Horrified residents watched as the shootout, which lasted a few minutes, sprawled onto a nearby car park, which was later found pockmarked with bullet holes.

When it ended, nine men were arrested by police. Multiple news outlets in Russia reported this included professional mixed martial artist Dzhumbalat Baliev, who was found attempting to evade capture by hiding in a Ford vehicle nearby along with four others, all of whom were apprehended.

The 25-year-old welterweight, from Rostov-on-Don, has a record of two wins and four losses and has fought primarily under the Berkut fight promotion, making his last outing in March 2019.

Suspects in the shootout used handguns and the ‘Saiga’ brand semi-automatic hunting rifle, which is manufactured by Kalashnikov and is modelled on its famous assault rifle. Carrying firearms is illegal in Russia and isn’t common.

One of the nine arrested received injuries in the gunfire, but claimed he was simply an innocent bystander who had become mixed up in the chaos.

Police have yet to comment on what instigated the gunfire but several sources speculate that it is rooted in a dispute within the lucrative funeral business in the city.

Investigators have launched a criminal probe into attempted murder, illegal possession of firearms and hooliganism. 

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