The perpetrator of the 2013 mass shooting in the village of Daillon in southwestern Switzerland was declared not responsible for his actions due to his mental condition. Three people died and two were seriously injured when the gunman went on a shooting spree on the village streets.
On Thursday, the district court of Hérens-Conthey in canton Valais committed the shooter – now 38-years-old – to a mental institution for therapy. Two psychiatric reports ordered after the drama showed that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and therefore he is not criminally responsible for his actions. However, the court established that the accused was indeed the author of the assassination attempts and assassinations, even though he could not be held legally accountable.
The man started shooting at fellow villagers on the night of January 2, 2013. He began firing from his apartment, aiming at people in the street and in neighbouring buildings, then came outside and continued shooting. Police said he fired dozens of rounds from at least two weapons. Three women – aged 32, 54 and 79 – died of their injuries at the scene. Two male victims suffered serious gunshot wounds but survived.
The incident created an uproar in the country and sparked a debate on gun control. The shooter was a ward of court who lived on disability benefit and was hospitalised for psychiatric treatment in 2005 following intervention from his family and police. His legally-owned guns were seized and destroyed at that time.
Despite the seizures, police said the gunman still owned a small arsenal of weapons including two historic Swiss military rifles known as “mousquetons”, a shotgun, an air rifle and an alarm pistol. Police also found dozens of rounds of ammunition, a machine-gun belt, knives and bayonets.
The shooter, who also has a history of drug abuse, will receive treatment in a secure environment for a period of five years. The judge may order an extension for a maximum of five years each time, as often as considered necessary. If institutional treatment fails, he may be subjected to ordinary internment at a prison facility.