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Police criticised over fugitive gunman case

An investigating judge has criticised the canton Bern police for their handling of a case of a gunman last year who eluded the law enforcement officers for over a week.

The man fled his home in Biel about one year ago after exchanging shots with policemen.

The incident was sparked by the impending forced sale by auction of the 67-year-old man’s home. A search of the house turned up weapons and a large sum of money.

Despite a massive security presence, the gunman managed to return to his home the same day of his escape, taking further shots at the police, and managing to get away a second time.

He was caught about ten days later.

The investigating judge, Hanspeter Uster, said in his report published on Tuesday that the police failed to inform themselves sufficiently about the background of the man.

Uster explained that documents from 2001 clearly indicated that the gunman had the potential for violence towards the authorities. Local officials in Biel also failed to pass on to police information about the man’s psychological problems.

The police also wrongly assumed that he had a death wish, and therefore did not seriously consider that he would take flight.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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