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Saturday
Feb192011

Second American Involved in Lahore Shooting Slips Back to US

Photo Courtesy - Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- A Pakistani court has demanded the arrest of a second U.S. official in connection with a deadly shootout in Lahore, Pakistan, last month, but that official, as well as another American official involved in the incident, have already slipped out of the country and are back on American soil, a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

The American sought for arrest, who the State Department only identified as a member of the U.S. embassy's staff in Islamabad, Pakistan, was behind the wheel when he struck and killed a bystander while racing to the aid of U.S. "technical advisor" Raymond Davis, who is currently detained in Lahore. Davis is accused of gunning down two Pakistani men in the street on Jan. 27 in what the State Department said was self-defense during a "botched robbery."

The driver of the vehicle held the same diplomatic visa as Davis, U.S. officials told ABC News. Since his arrest, the U.S. argued that Davis should be afforded diplomatic immunity as a member of the embassy's "technical and administrative staff" and released.

Authorities in Punjab said they sent five letters to the U.S. Embassy asking that the driver and vehicle be handed over, but have reportedly received no response. It is unclear when the driver and his passenger were spirited out of Pakistan, but a senior U.S. official said it happened soon after the shooting incident.

Davis is still in a high-security detention center in Lahore and is expected to stay there until a court hearing next month, despite repeated demands by the U.S. -- including from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- that he be released immediately. In a court hearing Thursday, a representative of the Pakistani central government said Pakistani officials are still trying to determine whether Davis qualifies for diplomatic immunity. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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