Chinese police in the southwestern city of Chongqing have shot dead a fugitive serial killer and armed robber, after a massive manhunt, officials have said.
Zhou Kehua, 42, who was responsible for nine deaths across several provinces, was finally cornered and shot dead at a Chongqing shoe factory around dawn, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.
The case has gripped the country, and involved the mobilisation of thousands of police to catch one of China's most wanted fugitives.
Zhou had been implicated in robberies and killings in three provinces dating back to 2004, and resurfaced last week to shoot dead a woman outside a Chongqing bank, Xinhua said.
Authorities described Zhou, who targeted people withdrawing money from banks, as "ruthless and extremely dangerous".
"Police ... confirmed that the Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau was praised and honoured by China's Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu immediately after the operation," Xinhua said.
Chinese news portals showed a picture, provided by the police, of Zhou sprawled on the ground with blood streaming from his head.
The latest violence had earlier prompted senior Chinese officials, including Public Security Minister Meng and Chongqing Communist Party boss Zhang Dejiang, to issue directives that the suspect be arrested as soon as possible.
Gun crime is rare in China as a result of tight controls over firearms.
The hunt for Zhou has been the most popular topic on China's Twitter-like microblogging site Sina Weibo for the past few days, and has dominated the news.
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|Timothy V. Gatto|