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Austrian police storm building where gunman is

September 17, 2013
Associated Press

KOLLAPRIEL, Austria (AP) — Austrian police officials say SWAT units have stormed a building where a gunman had holed up after killing four people.

Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck told The Associated Press on Tuesday that "police are inside the building." He says they have yet to find the suspect.

Police say the gunman barricaded himself in a farm building on the outskirts of Melk, a central town 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Vienna, and had been firing sporadically.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

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. Police identified him only as Alois H, in keeping with Austrian law that keeps criminal suspects anonymous . Scherscher told reporters that attempts to contact the holed-up suspect were "very difficult."

Scherscher said he could not confirm an Austrian media report that the suspect was shot in the abdomen by police.

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.



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