UPDATE (10 a.m. EST): The shooter is identified as a 42-year-old longtime employee of the wood-prcessing company Kronospan. Three have been confirmed dead, including the assailant. Seven people were wounded, six critically. Using the term "a quiet man," Kronospan Chief Executive Mauro Capozzo said the shooter, who has not been identified, had worked at the company for 10 years. [From AP]
A man opened fire Wednesday morning at a wood processing company in Menznau, 45 miles southwest of Zurich, killing and severely injuring an undisclosed number of people. Police from nearby Lucerne were scant on details, but news agency SDA reported that four injured people were flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital.
Three people have been confirmed dead, according to the Swiss news site 20 Minuten, which posted images of the crime scene.
This is the second multiple-homicide shooting in typically calm but heavily gun-flush Switzerland this year. A 33-year-old gunman killed three women and injured two men on Jan. 3 in a shooting in the southern town of Daillon.
Such shootings are rare in Switzerland. In September 2001, Friedrich Leibacher, 57, opened fire in a regional parliament building in Zug, killing 14 people, according to the BBC, before killing himself. In the wake of that shooting measures to tighten Swiss gun control laws were rejected by the public. A second attempt was made in 2011, which was also defeated by referendum.
It's no wonder why: The Swiss love their guns.
“By car or by train, you see shooting ranges all over the country, but only a few golf courses,” attorney and Switzerland expert Stephen Halbert wrote in a 1999 Wall St. Journal editorial. “If there is a Schuetzenfest in town, you will find rifles slung on hat racks in restaurants, and you will encounter men and women, old and young, walking, biking and taking the tram with rifles over the shoulder, to and from the range.”
Mass shootings are rare across Europe. Here’s a rundown of major multiple-homicide gun crimes in Europe in since 1989.
July 1989: French farmer kills 14 in Luxiol, near the border with Switzerland.
September 1995: French teen in Cuers in southern France kills nine.
March 1996: A gunman kills 16 children and a teacher in Dunblane, Scotland.
April 2002: Teenager kills 16, including a dozen teachers, in the eastern German city of Erfurt.
September 2008: A student in Finland kills nine students and a teacher in the northern city of Kauhajoki.
March 2009: A teenager kills nine students and six others in and near a school in Stuttgart.
June 2010: A gunman goes on a suburban killing spree in Cumbria County, UK, killing a dozen people.