Police suspect they were a gang of hired killers.
They were fleeing after shooting lawyer Sanjiv Malik in Kheri Gani village in Budhana Tehsil, a villager said.
Maliks father said he and his 35-year-old son were heading for their fields to work when they spotted a car parked on the road. The driver said the vehicle had a snag. My son offered to call a mechanic but they refused. When my son turned to return, three men in their mid 20s shot him thrice in the head. The driver and the three fled in the car, Satbir said.
Villagers alerted people of adjoining villages to intercept the car heading for the main road.
A villager, Charan Singh, said people gave chase to the car and more joined in. About 3 km from the spot, villagers of Lusana parked a tractor across the road. The assailants stopped the car and ran into sugarcane fields. They fired a few shots at villagers but were overpowered and beaten to death, he added.
The villagers set fire to the car.
Police took the four to hospital, where doctors declared them dead.
Police said Malik's murder appeared to be the fallout of rivalry. The lawyer had been practising at Budhana city court for 5-6 years now. He was former secretary of Budhana Bar Council Association.
The villagers feared reprisals if any of the four killers was from adjoining Muslim-dominated villages of Husaainpur and Mohammadpur. By afternoon, none of the village heads could identify the four and police removed security personnel deployed in the village.
Vijay Singh, Station House Officer, Phugana police station, said, We have not been able to identity the four. They are not from this area. We recovered a pistol and three country made pistols. It looks like they were contract killers from outside the region.