First police shooting death in Iceland

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 10:52pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2013, 5:06am


Police in Iceland have shot dead a gunman - the first time armed officers have killed someone in the nation.

Iceland, which has a tiny population of around 320,000, has a low crime rate and gun violence is extremely rare. The regular police force do not carry firearms.

Haraldur Johannessen, National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, said Monday's incident was unprecedented.

Police said officers were called to an apartment in the Reykjavik suburb of Arbaer early on Monday when a man fired a shotgun from inside the flat. Two policemen, who were not armed, were shot at when trying to enter the man's apartment.

Witnesses told local media that a smoke bomb was thrown into the apartment through a broken window in efforts to subdue the man. A special armed unit then entered and fired at the man, who later died in hospital. No one else was injured.

"All available members of the police force were deployed, and they tried to subdue him, but it was not successful," Reykjavik Metropolitan Police Commissioner Stefan Eiriksson was quoted as saying by local media website Visir.

"The man began to shoot out the window of the apartment and it was decided to take action," he added.

The motives of the man, who has not been named, are unclear. RUV, Iceland's national television station, said the gunman was a man in his fifties and had been making threats to his neighbours.

Shotguns for hunting are legal in Iceland.

Many Icelanders believe that the country rarely sees gun violence in part because handguns are banned.