Monday 19 August 2019

Police say gunman in Zurich mosque shooting is now dead

Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Angelika Gruber and Michael Shields

A man who shot three people at a Zurich mosque on Monday is dead, police said on Tuesday, confirming that a body found near the scene was that of the assailant.

Zurich cantonal police said authorities had identified the suspect, but gave no details. A news conference was scheduled for 1300 GMT.

Special Unit Policemen secure the area in front of the Islamic center, in Zurich, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. (Ennio Leanza/Keystone via AP)
Special Unit Policemen secure the area in front of the Islamic center, in Zurich, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. (Ennio Leanza/Keystone via AP)
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police patrol near an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police cars parked in front of the Islamic centre, in Zurich. (Ennio Leanza/Keystone/AP)

The gunman had stormed into the Islamic centre and opened fire on worshippers.

"The dead man found around 300 metres (yards) from the scene of the crime after the shooting in the mosque is the suspect," a statement on a police website said.

Two of the three victims -- aged 30, 35 and 56 -- were seriously injured in the attack, which took place shortly after 5:30 p.m. (1630 GMT) near the main train station in Switzerland's financial capital. A third sustained less severe injuries.

Police had identified the suspect only as a man around 30 years old wearing dark clothing and a dark woollen cap who fled the mosque after the attack.

At the scene, Abukav Abshirow, a 30-year-old Somali man who works at a Zurich car dealership, said his friend was among the injured. He recalled how they had celebrated a religious occasion at the centre the night before.

"I am under shock," he said. "We've had great times here. The atmosphere was always friendly and happy at the centre.

"I am very, very sad this happened. We never had problems here before. We spend the weekend here with our children in peace.

"I am waiting to find out what happened, and who is responsible."

Attacks by gunmen are rare in Switzerland, although the country was shaken in 2013 by at least two multiple-fatality shootings.

The country has a long-standing tradition for men to keep their military rifles after completing compulsory military service - which partly explains a high rate of gun ownership in the country of about 8.2 million people.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

Reuters

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