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Gunman kills two in Swiss factory canteen, then turns gun on himself

Switzerland is estimated to have two and a half million firearms in private hands, despite a population of just eight million

A village near Lucerne is in shock after a factory worker shot dead two of his colleagues and wounded seven others before turning his gun on himself in Switzerland’s second fatal shooting incident in two months.

The bloodbath in Menzau occurred shortly after 9am at the Kronospan wood processing plant, which employs about 400 workers.

A machine operator armed with a handgun started opening fire on his colleagues in the canteen and on the factory floor.

Staff spoke of panic and screams as the 42-year-old gunman, a Swiss citizen named only as Viktor B, started shooting. “He aimed his pistol directly at staff and opened fire,” Daniel Bussman, the head of Lucerne’s criminal police department, said. A worker at the factory said the gunman was a former kickboxer who displayed symptoms of worsening psychological problems. “He changed over the past year. He often talked to himself and seemed to be acting strangely,” the employee told the Neue Luzerner Zeitung newspaper.

He added that Kronospan’s management said Victor B had been a quiet member of staff whose behaviour had shown nothing out of the ordinary.

Two of his victims were shot and died instantly, seven others were wounded, five of them seriously. After his shooting spree Viktor B committed suicide.

The shooting occurred less than two months after an unemployed man with a history of drug abuse went on the rampage with a shotgun and army rifle in the Swiss village of Daillon, shooting dead three women.