Gunman with troubled past accused of killing 3, wounding 2 in Swiss village
GENEVA — A shooting in southern Switzerland has left three women dead, two men wounded and raised questions about how a troubled man was able to go on a rampage with an old military rifle.
The suspect, a 33-year-old unemployed man living on disability payments, fired about 20 shots on Wednesday night in the village of Daillon, authorities in the Swiss canton (state) of Valais said on Thursday.
He opened fire from his apartment and pursued people in the street, police said. Armed with a Swiss military rifle and a handgun, he threatened to shoot the officers sent in to stop him, police said.
“The shooter pointed his weapon at our colleagues, so they had to open fire to neutralize him, to avoid being injured themselves,” police spokesman Jean-Marie Bornet told Swiss radio.
The suspect, whom police did not identify, was arrested and taken to the hospital with serious wounds. Bornet said he lived in Daillon but the motive for the shooting was unclear.
Guns are popular among the Swiss — the Alpine country has at least 2.3 million weapons among a population of less than 8 million. Many rural areas have gun clubs, with children as young as 10 taking part in shooting competitions.
The shooter used a military rifle that was once standard issue in the Swiss army, interim cantonal police Chief Robert Steiner said.
Prosecutor Catherine Seppey said the suspect was unemployed and had been receiving psychiatric care since at least 2005, when he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
He was under the care of the cantonal agency for the disabled, she said.
His weapons were confiscated and destroyed in 2005, she said, “and currently no arms register showed he had a weapon. The inquiry will have to determine where the weapons came from.”
Buying a firearm in a Swiss shop requires a permit, a clean criminal record and no psychiatric disability, but buying a firearm from another person is less restrictive, and old-style army rifles are often sold at military surplus markets.
Most types of ammunition can be bought, while automatic firearms generally require a special police permit. Seppey said the shooter knew several of the victims but “he was not known for making threats.”
Three women died at the scene, and two injured men were taken to the hospital.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Iraqi fighter jet drops bomb over Baghdad, kills 12 people
- Bombs at mosque, restaurant in central Nigerian city kill 44
- Wildfires break out in Spain, Portugal
- Russians decry U.S. description in new policy
- U.S.-led coalition unleashes wave of airstrikes on Raqqa, Syria
- Iran nuclear deal teeters on ‘hard choices,’ Kerry says
- Fans cheer as Princess Charlotte christened on British royal estate in Sandringham
- Egypt claims to kill 63 terrorists in North Sinai
- Little hope of survivors in Indonesian plane crash
- Egyptian president plans tougher legal system in speech at burial of prosecutor
- Famine nears in Yemen; deadly blasts continue