Monday 16 September 2019

Gunman who carried out shooting spree at mosque had 'no radical Islamist motive'

Police secure the area around the mosque in Zurich. Photo: AP
Police secure the area around the mosque in Zurich. Photo: AP

Oleg Cetinic

Swiss police have found no radical Islamist or far-right motives by a gunman who killed himself after carrying out a shooting spree at a Zurich mosque in which three worshippers were wounded, a top police official said yesterday.

Authorities were still investigating the possible motive of the 24-year-old Swiss citizen of Ghanaian origin with a penchant for the occult who carried out Monday's shootings in Switzerland's largest city.

The suspect, who was not identified by name but had a criminal record for a bike theft years ago, had only days earlier repeatedly stabbed and killed an acquaintance of South American origin with whom he had been arguing.

"There's no indication of any kind of terrorist connection to (the radical Isil group), or an Islamic radicalisation of the suspect," Zurich state criminal police chief Christiane Lentjes Meili said of the mosque shootings.

She said no links to any far-right movements were found either. "He is Swiss and we don't know anything about the motives," Ms Lentjes Meili said.

The gunman, who was from the nearby town of Uster, had stormed into the Islamic centre near to the main train station in Switzerland's financial capital and opened fire on people praying, wounding three men, whose condition was said to be improving yesterday.

The victims were aged 30, 35 and 56.

His body was found soon afterwards around 300 metres away.

He appeared to have shot himself, police said.

Investigators were still puzzling over what set off the deadly chain of events. The man had quit his job in a shop on Friday.

There were indications that he had taken an interest in occult sciences, Ms Lentjes Meili said, adding it was not clear at this stage whether he was mentally ill.

Irish Independent

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