Three dead as gunman strikes in Swiss village
The normally tranquil Swiss village of Daillon was in shock today after an unemployed man with a history of drug abuse went on the rampage with a shot gun and army rifle, killing three women and seriously wounding two men.
Police said the 33-year-old gunman, a former mental health patient identified only as FB, started firing from the window of his apartment late on Wednesday evening. He then went on to the street outside where he gunned down his victims.
Marksmen eventually immobilised him with a shot to the chest. “If the police hadn’t intervened, he would have gone on killing people,” said the Swiss general prosecutor, Catherine Seppey. She said police had previously confiscated firearms from the gunman in 2005, when he was placed in a psychiatric hospital for treatment.
The three women victims – aged 32, 54, and 79 – died where they fell from wounds to the head and chest. The two men, aged 33 and 63, and the gunman were in hospital today receiving treatment for their injuries.
Neighbours in Daillon, a village about 60 miles east of Geneva with only 360 inhabitants, said the killer had wanted to become an instructor in the Swiss army and started taking drugs after failing to get the job.
The incident seems certain to reopen domestic debate about Switzerland’s gun laws, which are among the most liberal in Europe. Male citizens – who must all complete military service – are allowed to keep their guns at home rather than in supervised public arsenals.
Swiss soldiers have been encouraged to keep their rifles at home after leaving the armed forces under defence policies introduced during the Second World War. The practice is upheld as a symbol of the degree of trust the state invests in Switzerland’s largely conscript army.
The Alpine country has the highest rate of gun suicides in Europe with some 300 self-inflicted deaths each year involving a firearm. Between two and three million guns are estimated to be held in Swiss households. There is no national firearms register so no precise figure is available.
In a 2011 referendum, called for by doctors, churches and anti-suicide groups, voters overwhelmingly rejected proposals to make gun owners keep their weapons in public arsenals.
Shooting club owners had argued that the law would have led to the closure of many of the country’s 3,000 gun clubs, which function as social centres in many rural communities. Conservative MPs said the decision to oppose greater gun control upheld the traditions of Switzerland’s folk hero, William Tell.
Threat of 'catastrophic cascade of collisions' must be averted, warn scientists
Wellcome Image Awards: The most striking images from the world of science, including breast cancer cells under chemical attack and a photographer’s own kidney stone
Space debris orbiting Earth to be destroyed with giant lasers fired from Australia
Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Athlete repeatedly sick as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's post-mortem
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 2 Pakistan vs Paul Smith: Sandal-wearers bemused by famed British designer's attempts to sell traditional Peshawari chappal-style shoes for the distinctly untraditional sum of £300
- 3 North Korea elections: Kim Jong-un wins 100% of the vote
- 4 Steve Irwin’s final words: Cameraman present at death opens up about deadly stingray attack for the first time
- 5 Sharknado 2: Former WWE wrestler Kurt Angle to fight second wave of flying sharks
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client is a leading digital agency bu...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Charter Selection: Global leader in its respective ...
£130 - £161 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Do you have a qualificatio...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: The school is much la...