Suspected ramming leaves police volunteer dead, investigated as murder

Five suspects under investigation for suspected ramming which killed a police volunteer

 Police investigate after four suspects drove through a sobriety checkpoint, killing volunteer police officer Amichay Carmeli. (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Police investigate after four suspects drove through a sobriety checkpoint, killing volunteer police officer Amichay Carmeli.

A police volunteer was killed and two others were injured after a driver, suspected to be a drunk, broke forcibly through a police sobriety checkpoint early on Saturday morning. 

This happened after the suspects in the vehicle had fled the scene of a different car accident in Rishon Lezion.

Police have accelerated the initial investigation, in which five suspects from the Bedouin city of Rahat were arrested on suspicion of carrying out a ramming attack. Thirty-year-old Rani Kamlat is suspected of being the driver. The other suspects were identified as 22-year-old Amjad al-Abid, 32-year-old Yatam Abu Eylon, 30-year-old Mu'ataz Abu Elyon and 21-year-old Tamir Kamlat, the latter of whom has been hospitalized, according to Israeli media.

After an initial investigation, police raised the suspicion to "murder" and transferred the case to the Special Unit for Combating Crime in the Judean Foothills.

Here is a play-by-play of what Israel Police suspects happened:

1. The car crash

The event began late Friday night when the vehicle of the suspects was spotted by Israel Police having crashed into a taxi in Rishon Lezion. 

Instead of staying and providing information, the suspected vehicle drove off in the direction of the Bet Dagan junction. 

Although there is no conclusive information from police yet, it is safe to assume that the suspects fled out of fear that they would be caught driving under the influence.

2. The sobriety checkpoint

Rishon Lezion is a party hotspot on Friday nights, and sobriety checkpoints - where police test drivers with a breathalyzer - are not uncommon.

Sure enough, the suspects reached one of these checkpoints soon after the accident once they reached Route 412, adjacent to the Bet Dagan junction.

Instead of stopping for the test, they ran over three members of the Israeli National Traffic Police who were operating at the scene.

One of those volunteers was killed. Fourty-six-year-old Amichay Carmeli had been serving in the volunteer role for over 15 years. Carmeli was the grandson of the late Moshe Carmeli, who was killed in Gaza during the Yom Kippur War when a hand grenade was thrown into his vehicle.

The two others, whose condition ranges from light to serious, were treated for their injuries at Shamir Medical Center before being released.

Shabtai later spoke on the phone with the other two injured volunteers and praised their role in the police.

"No incident, no matter how difficult, will harm our national morale," Shabtai said to the other injured volunteers. "We will go and raise the number of police volunteers because this is the legacy left by the late Amichai."

3. The arrest

Four suspects in the vehicle, all residents of Rahat, were arrested after a short on-foot chase and taken to the hospital. A fifth suspect was arrested upon their arrival at the hospital. 

"Israeli police officers, including the men and women who devote their free time to this, devote their bodies day and night to perpetrators of crime and to civilians," said Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev following the incident. 

"This morning, we received a painful example of this. I share in the great sorrow of the family of the late Amichay."

Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev

The Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court extended their detention in police custody; Kamlat's until June 16 and the others until June 14. Central District Traffic Examiners are investigating the circumstances of the incidents.