A shooter opened fire in a wood-processing plant in central Switzerland on Wednesday, killing three and wounding seven others. Four seriously injured workers were airlifted to hospitals by the Rega helicopter rescue service. Kronospan, located in the small town of Menznau, west of Lucerne, employs about 400 workers.
The gunman, 42, worked for the company for over ten years according to swissinfo.ch, the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. He has not yet been identified by authorities.
Witnesses told the local Luzerner Zeitung newspaper that gunfire started in the canteen shortly after 9am. It was not immediately clear who the shooter was, if he is still at large, if he worked at Kronospan, or what his motivation was.
The factory announced in February that it would have to cut production due to timber shortages.
There is widespread gun ownership in Switzerland and very liberal regulation. With a population of 8 million, the Swiss own approximately 2.3 million firearms. While gun crime is relatively rare, with just 24 gun killings in 2009, there have been a handful of high-profile incidents. In 2001, Friedrich Leibacher walked into the canton’s parliament in Zug armed with an assault rifle, shotgun, pistol, and homemade police vest. He killed 14 people before commiting suicide in an incident that was dubbed the “Zug massacre.”