Reuven Labot - April 2012
Reuven Labot. Photo by Reproduction: Gil Eliyahu
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A 19-year-old Kiryat Shmona man was struck and killed early Saturday morning, allegedly by a car driven by a man he had reportedly argued with earlier.

The 28-year-old driver, who is suspected of running over Reuven Labot near a pub at Kibbutz Kfar Giladi, left the scene but turned himself in to Kiryat Shmona police, who arrested him.

Labot, who was suffering from severe head trauma, died shortly after arrival at the Kiryat Shmona emergency room.

Four other young men, who were suspected of involvement in the earlier argument, were also arrested.

The Kiryat Shmona police shuttered the pub and confiscated the computers where footage from security cameras is stored.

At 3 A.M., the driver came to the police station, apparently drunk, and told police he had been involved in a brawl outside the pub. Attorneys David and Galil Spigel, who are representing the suspect and one of the other men being held in the matter, said a group of young men from Kiryat Shmona - who the attorneys allege were drunk - sat down next to their clients in the pub.

At some point they began to bother their clients and things deteriorated into threats and shoving, which turned into a brawl outside.

The attorneys said their clients wanted to stay out of the brawl and so they hurried to their car. But some of the young men who had been arguing with their clients ran after them, kicked the car and pulled the doors open. The attorneys said the driver backed up in an attempt to drive away, and they opened the door again. At this point the driver put the car into first gear and began to drive forward, which is when he allegedly hit Labot.

The driver apparently phoned the police and Magen David Adom as he was driving, to report the incident.

The police checked his blood-alcohol level and reportedly found it exceeded the legal level.

Competing versions of events

Attorney Yosef Fares, who is representing one of Labot's detained friends, said his client, who is 19, tells a different story. Fares said that as his client tells it, an argument started between two groups of young men, both of whom had been drinking. The brawl started in the club, then continued in the parking lot, and the driver suspected of running over Labot got into his car and drove backward on purpose to hit two young men. They were able to get out of the way, but then he drove forward to try to hit them, and did so.

Labot, the victim, was in an electronics course in Hatzor Haglilit, run by the Israel Air Force for pre-army students.

According to Labot's aunt, "all he wanted to do was to go out and have fun with friends. I don't know how the driver who killed him will go on living with this."

At Labot's parents' home, the medals and trophies were on display that he had won in the Kiryat Shmona boxing club.

"He was a good boy, all he was interested in was sports and studying. He didn't know anything about drinking," the aunt said.