Young Father Killed by Best Friend in Shooting Accident

In the living room of the Kiryat Motzkin apartment of Victor Shvardin, who died Friday from a gunshot wound in an apparent accident at a friend's home, the victim's two young daughters play with cards and puzzle.

Liza, 3, and Svetlana, 18 months, are watched by their mother, Yulia Gudimov, 21, who is heavily pregnant.

Unlike the usual scene following personal tragedies, where many people arrive to offer support, Yulia has only her mother and her grandfather. Shvardin's father is in a nursing home, and his mother lives in Russia.

"There aren't too many friends," Yulia said yesterday. "His best friend is the one who shot him," she explained.

Shvardin, 23, and Iya Ardinayev, 22, were in the latter's apartment in Kiryat Yam on Friday night, reportedly drinking and playing with Ardinayev's gun from his job as a security guard, when Shvardin was shot.

Ardinayev called the police immediately and told them: "I shot my friend. Call an ambulance right away."

Ardinayev fled from his apartment after calling emergency services but returned to wait for the ambulance crew. He was detained by police outside his apartment.

Paramedics pronounced Shvardin dead at the scene.

The police said later that Ardinayev's version of events is being investigated but on the face of it his account appears to be credible and that he reenacted the events.

Ulpan meeting

Shvardin immigrated to Israel four years ago. He met Ardinayev when they both were studying in an ulpan, an intensive Hebrew-language course for new immigrants, in Sderot. Shvardin's father was already living in Israel.

Shvardin and Ardinayev became good friends and spent a lot of time together. Shvardin was drafted into the army two months ago. He was given a furlough on Thursday.

"At 2 P.M. on Friday he told me he was going to Ilya's and have something to drink and that he would come back in the evening," Gudimov related yesterday.

She said her partner wore his army uniform so that he would not have to pay for the bus, and that he took his army-issued gun with him.

'Good friends'

"At four," she continued, "I told him I was going out with the girls. That was the last conversation we had." She was notified of Shvardin's death in the evening.

Like Shvardin and Ardinayev, Shvardin and Gudimov met at ulpan. They and their daughters had recently moved in with Gudimov's mother and grandfather in Kiryat Motzkin.

"They were good friends and spent time together," Gudimov said yesterday of the friendship between Shvardin and Ardinayev. They had disagreements, as there always are between good friends. Nothing unusual. I know it was an accident, but it's a stupid death. It was stupid and it cost a life. For that I am angry," Gudimov said.