KOLLAPRIEL, Austria (AP) — A gunman in Austria killed four people, including three police officers, and was firing sporadically Tuesday at police after barricading himself in a farm building, police officials said.
SWAT teams blocked off the area around the farm on the outskirts of Melk, a central town 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Vienna. The standoff, which began early Tuesday, continued into the evening.
Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck said two policemen and the driver of an emergency rescue vehicle were shot and killed overnight in the nearby town of Annaberg.
Another officer who had been missing was found Tuesday shot dead in his patrol car, he said. Regional police spokesman Roland Scherscher said the officer was apparently killed after the suspect carjacked the police vehicle and took him hostage after the suspect's own car stalled during an escape attempt.
Police used armored vehicles to recover his body from the squad car that was parked near the gunman's hideout, Scherscher told reporters.
A fourth policeman was also wounded, Grundboeck said.
State broadcaster ORF reported that the suspect was a 55-year-old poacher but police refused to identify him in keeping with Austrian law. Scherscher told reporters that attempts to contact the holed-up suspect were "very difficult."
Grundboeck said the gunman fled by car when approached by police, then shot a member of Austria's Cobra SWAT team after his vehicle landed in a ditch.
The suspect shot and killed the emergency driver who was giving first aid to the wounded policeman, and then fatally shot the second police officer at a roadblock before barricading himself, Grundboeck said.
The surviving police officer was shot while his partner was being helped by the rescue worker. Grundboeck said his wounds were not life-threatening.
The provincial government of Lower Austria ordered black flags flown from all public buildings in honor of the dead.
AP Bureau chief George Jahn reported from Vienna.