Switzerland gunman kills three in Daillon in Valais
- 3 January 2013
- From the section Europe
A gunman has opened fire in a village in Switzerland, killing three people and wounding two others, police say.
The attack happened on Wednesday at around 21:00 (20:00 GMT) in the village of Daillon in Valais canton, 100km (60 miles) east of Geneva.
Police shot and wounded the suspect after he threatened to turn a gun on them. He has been arrested.
Investigations revealed the man was a known drug addict and former mental health patient, authorities say.
The unnamed suspect in the Daillon attack is a 33-year-old unemployed ward of court, police said at a news conference on Thursday.
He fired at least 20 shots at his victims. Three women died instantly, while two men were also injured in the attack.
The weapons used in the shooting include a hunting gun and a historical army rifle known as a carbine, which dates back to the first half of the 20th Century, general prosecutor Catherine Sappey said.
Police had previously confiscated weapons from the suspect in 2005 when he was placed in a psychiatric ward.
Back then, "he was not known for having issued threats," Ms Sappey added.
The BBC's Imogen Foulkes, in the Swiss capital of Bern, says the case is certain to call into question Switzerland's relatively liberal gun laws, under which Swiss men, all of whom must serve in the army, keep their guns at home.
The motives for the attack remain unclear at this stage but the assailant is thought to have been related to some of his victims, who include a couple, the general prosecutor said.
The woman died from her injuries while the man is still in hospital.
"It wasn't easy to intervene. The gunman turned his weapon on the officers, who had to shoot him in order not to be injured themselves," said police spokesman Jean-Marie Bornet.
Eyewitness Nathalie Frizzi told local daily Le Nouvelliste: "At first I didn't realise what was going on. I thought children were shooting at cats and I called out for them to stop. I am still shocked that I could have been hit by a bullet."
In a separate incident on Wednesday evening, an armed man in another Swiss village stormed into a restaurant and fired into the ceiling before being overpowered by customers, our correspondent says.
Gun attacks are rare in Switzerland, but shooting is a very popular sport in the country.
There are an estimated two to three million guns in circulation, although no-one knows the exact number because there is no national firearms register.