Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Slovakia rampage gunman kills seven

A gunman killed seven people in a rampage in Bratislava (AP)
Police investigate after a man opened fire, killing seven people in Bratislava (AP)

A gunman went on a rampage in Slovakia's capital on Monday, killing seven people and wounding 15, then committed suicide, officials said.

Five of the people killed in Bratislava were members of a Roma family who lived in an apartment where the man began his attack with a machine gun and two pistols, said Interior Minister Daniel Lipsic. Roma, also known as Gypsies, often face discrimination in eastern Europe, but Lipsic and police chief Jaroslav Spisiak said the unidentified gunman's motive was not known.

Another man shot and killed outside the building was "probably" also a member of the same family, Lipsic said.

"So far we don't know the motive ... so I will not speculate whether it did or did not have (a) racial motive," he told reporters. "I doubt it, but of course the investigation is ongoing."

The shooting took place mid-morning in the run-down Devinska Nova Ves neighbourhood on the outskirts of the Slovak capital, surrounded by fields and industrial areas.

The five Roma who died in the apartment - four women and a man - lived in a brown high-rise building, Spisiak said.

Police rushed to the scene as the attacker, about 50 years old, was leaving the building, and he fired indiscriminately at people in the area, wounding 15, including a policeman and a three-year-old boy who was shot in the ear, Lipsic said.

The seventh fatality was a woman who was shot in the area as she walked to the balcony of her apartment when she heard the gunfire, Lipsic said.

Afterwards, SME, a daily newspaper in Slovakia, released a photograph of a person it identified as the gunman. It shows a middle-aged man standing on a pavement and pointing a machine gun at an unidentified target overhead. The man appears to have planned the shoot-out because he is wearing device over his ears to protect his hearing.

The Slovak news agency TASR, referencing a police statement, identified the gunman late on Monday as a 48-year-old local who was in legal possession of the weapons he used for the killing spree. Without citing a source, TASR also reported that the man died from a gunshot to his head.

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