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Valais deaths


Three dead in Swiss village shooting




Parts of Daillon village remained sealed off on Thursday (Keystone)

Parts of Daillon village remained sealed off on Thursday

(Keystone)

Three women have been killed and two men injured in a shooting in the Swiss mountain village of Daillon in canton Valais. The motive for the attack is unknown and the gunman is in custody.

The man began shooting at fellow villagers around 9 pm on Wednesday. He began firing from his apartment, shooting at people in the street and in neighbouring buildings, but later came out into the street, police said, adding that he appeared to have fired more than 20 shots.

The three female victims – aged 32, 54 and 79 –  died of their injuries at the scene, police said. Two male victims were taken to hospital suffering from gunshot wounds. All were local residents of the village which has a population of 400.

Police confirmed that the gunman was also shot and seriously injured after he threatened police and members of a special response team sent to the scene.

At a press conference on Thursday, police said the gunman had been committed for psychiatric treatment in 2005, following which his legally-held guns were confiscated and destroyed.

He was subsequently made a ward of court. The 33-year old has a history of drug abuse.

Despite these precautionary measures, the man carried out this attack using an old-model military rifle and a shotgun. The cantonal prosecutor said the gunman had several weapons in his possession, none of which was legally-registered in his name.

Gun violence

List of recent high-profile incidents involving firearms in Switzerland:

2012: Two people get killed with army-issue assault rifle in a family feud.

2011: A lone gunman, using an army-issue firearm, kills a policeman trying to carry out eviction order.

2010: Policemen is shot and injured when an arms collector opens fire over eviction order.

2007: Hotel guest opens fire randomly, killing one person and injuring three others. In  separate incident, militia soldier in Zurich kills woman at bus stop.

2006: Gunman kills ex-wife and her brother before committing suicide.

2001: Disgruntled citizen storms parliament of canton Zug, killing 14 politicians before turning the gun on himself.  

Gun culture

Switzerland has one of the highest number of firearms per capita. There is no nationwide register, but estimates range between 2.3 million and 4.5 million among the more than eight million residents.  

Under the militia army system, hundreds of thousands of military weapons are kept in Swiss households ready for use in an emergency mobilisation, although according to regulations ammunition is stored in army depots.

Up to a million more army weapons belonging to citizens no longer on standby for active military service are still in circulation.

Army-issue weapons are said to be involved in more than 300 suicides in Switzerland every year.

swissinfo.ch and agencies