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Authorities say 15 dead in Zug cantonal parliament shooting

Ambulances rushed to Zug's parliament building, where a gunman killed 14 people Keystone

Fifteen people, including three members of government, and 11 members of the regional parliament, are dead after a man opened fire during a session of the canton of Zug's regional assembly on Thursday, authorities said late Thursday.

Authorities said the attacker, apparently disguised as a policeman, entered the parliament building at 10.30am on Thursday and opened fire with an assault rifle in the assembly room. An explosion followed the shootings.

Police identified the attacker as Friedrich Leibacher, 57, a Swiss from the canton of Zurich, who was among the dead. They were investigating whether his injuries were self-inflicted.

Three of the dead were identified as Monika Hutter-Häfliger, health director for canton Zug; construction director Jean-Paul Flachsman, and the head of the interior department, Peter Bossard, according to the German television broadcaster, Tele24.

The regional government president, Hanspeter Uster, was injured.

Peter Hess, speaker of the national House of Representatives, who is from Zug, called for a minute’s silence. “I have learned that the terrible attack in Zug left 14 people dead,” he told members of the national parliament in Bern.

“I am shocked this happened in Zug,” Hess said later. “I cannot remember an attack against parliamentarians in a parliament building in Switzerland ever happening during a session.” Hess said the Swiss must increase security in Parliament.

While he was shooting, the attacker apparently demanded that an appeal he had filed be reviewed by the parliament. Among his apparent targets were other members of the government and the media.

“Day of anger”

Zurich cantonal police said the attacker, who apparently committed suicide, left behind a letter in which he spoke of “a day of anger for the Zug mafia.” No further details have been provided on the intent of the letter or the man’s grievances.

“The man strode through the whole floor, shooting at people,” said Swiss Telegraphic Agency reporter Dominik Hertach. People threw themselves to the floor amid loud screams from the injured, he said.

At least one explosion followed, and smoke filled the room. The force of the blast ripped off doors and shattered windows. According to early reports, the explosion came from a grenade.

“I was just outside the door of the parliament when he came in with a rifle, with several pistols and with what I think was a hand grenade,” a witness told Reuters.

According to police, the man used a 5.6 mm SIG “Sturmgewehr 90” made in Switzerland. The assault rifle is used by the Swiss army.

The director of the local hospital said eight injured people had been brought in for treatment. Police, ambulances and firemen converged on the scene.

Police have seized a car with Swiss license plates which was found near the parliament building.They said the vehicle contained a number of weapons.

The attack occurred during the September session of the cantonal parliament, which has 80 deputies.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR