It is a iron-clad fact that the hardened serial killer Zhou Kehua was finally traced down and killed after eight years on lam. But, the way he was killed has seemingly become another online buzz.
The end for China's most wanted man began early on a muggy morning in Chongqing's Shapingba District.
Officers Zhou Jin and Wang Xiaoyu were on the lookout for any trace of the suspect when they received word that a man fitting Zhou Kehua's description had been spotted in their area.
Shortly after, a man wearing sunglasses and talking on a cellphone walked by. Officer Zhou was first to follow.
"He kept looking back at me," Officer Zhou told China Central Television. He said they couldn't be sure that it was the man they were looking for.
But after passing a road junction and entering an alley, the man began to speed up.
As the officers began to give chase, the suspect suddenly turned around and walked towards them.
"I focused all my attention on whether he would take out a weapon," said Officer Zhou, who had his hand on his gun.
But the moment the two officers drew their weapons the suspect opened fire.
Officer Zhou took cover behind a pole and fired back. Officer Wang flattened himself against a wall, also firing at the suspect. Zhou fired three shots at the police but was hit four times.
"We gained the vantage positions," said Officer Wang. "We could cover each other then."
Quickly removing a pistol from the suspect's hand the officers checked Zhou's body while waiting for backup - the hunt for China's most wanted serial killer was over at 6:50am.
Frenzied serial killer Zhou Kehua was shot dead at the Tongjiaqiao of Shapingba district in Chongqing on August 14th morning at around 6:40 after a massive four-day manhunt.
However, the buzz over Zhou's death was far from an end.
Netizens fired more than 1 million online posts after Zhou was shot dead, speculating that it is more likely Zhou committed suicide than being shot.
Zhou Jin and Wang Xiaoyu, two police officers from the Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau, have told the reporter that Zhou was shot dead by them, uncertain about where exactly Zhou was struck by bullets.
The Chongqing Times reported that eight policemen found Zhou's body indicating suicide, sparking rumors that the media might misreport the end of the high-profile manhunt. The local daily has since deleted this post on its Weibo.
A local resident of Tongjiaqiao village described what he saw at the scene on his Weibo: "I was walking back home from the market at 6:30 a.m., when I came across a man from outside a shoe factory. I didn't recognize that he was Zhou Kehua until I checked the wanted poster on the wall." The villager called the police after he went home, and at the same moment, 3 policemen ran over from around 10 meters away in Zhou's direction. "Zhou Kehua started shooting at the policemen. He was shot twice with one bullet on his waist, and then Zhou shot himself in the head after falling down," said the villager.
Ms Tang, a woman living near the scene of the gunfight, said she witness Zhou's committing suicide after the policemen shot bullet on his waist.
A press conference was held on Tuesday afternoon by the Chongqing police authorities, leaving many issues in the air. After the conference, a senior officer from China's Public Security Ministry confirmed to the reporters present that "I'm sure that he (Zhou Kehua) was shot dead by the police."
Public voices via Sina Weibo:
@愚人东: A suicide. The bullet shell is found through one side of his head, so obviously after he had fallen from a shot in his waist, he committed suicide. Head Shot Brother ultimately shot himself in the head.
@ gaucho0 : Looking at the photos, he died from a shot to his temple. Can a frontal shot end up hitting someone in the temple?