“The mayor has died,” a hospital source told AFP, after Vladikavkaz Mayor Vitaly Karayev was delivered to an emergency room following the incident.
“It happened around 9 a.m. (0600 GMT) in the courtyard of his home as he was going out. He received several bullet wounds as he stepped outside. Evidently it was a sniper,” a regional interior ministry source told AFP.
North Ossetian President Taimuraz Mamsurov confirmed that the mayor had been killed and said he was about to hold an emergency meeting of regional security officials to discuss the situation, the Interfax news agency reported.
North Ossetia shares a border and close ethnic ties to South Ossetia, the separatist Georgian region at the heart of August’s brief war between Russia and Georgia.
The region also has a history of attacks carried out by Chechen rebels, including the 2004 school hostage crisis in the North Ossetian town of Beslan, which led to the deaths of over 330 hostages, many of them children.