Three Dead, Seven Injured in Swiss Shooting This Morning

A shooting at a factory close to the Swiss city of Lucerne has left at least three dead and seven injured, according to reports (Swiss authorities haven't confirmed those numbers). The killer is most likely one of the dead, police have said, and the number of deceased is most likely higher.

The shooting broke out in the cafeteria at the Kronospan wood processing plant in the town of Menznau at 9 a.m local time (3 a.m. ET) this morning. A man who had phoned the factory to check in on his father reported: "The workers were eating a snack in the cafeteria during the morning, and there was a massacre." Police have sealed off the entire area and rescue workers have flown four of the wounded people to two area hospitals.

The woodworking factory employs 450 people. It recently had to cut production because of a decrease in the available timber.

While Switzerland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, gun attacks are relatively rare. About 2.3 million firearms are owned by 8 million people in country, but there were just 24 gun killings in 2009—or about 0.3 per 100,000 inhabitants (the U.S. rate that year is about 11 times higher).

According to a Geneva-based Small Arms Survey, Switzerland ranks third in the world in gun ownership, just behind the United States and Yemen. Military service is compulsory for Swiss men aged 18-34, at which time they are issued with assault rifles. Many keep these rifles after completing military service, even though the rules barring this practice have been tightened. There is liberal gun regulation in the country, especially after a 2012 referendum to establish stricter gun control failed.

A recent investigative report for BBC revealed that street gun violence is extremely rare in Switzerland, but that the instances of domestic homicide and suicides involving firearms are higher in Switzerland than nearly anywhere else except for Finland.

[BBC, image via Getty]