Three people are dead and two others are injured after a gunman has opened fire in a village in Switzerland, police say.
The attack happened on Wednesday at around 21:00 in the village of Daillon in Valais canton, 100 km (60 miles) east of Geneva.
Police shot and wounded the suspect after he threatened to turn a gun on them. He has been arrested.
Investigations revealed the man was a known drug addict and former mental health patient, authorities say.
The unnamed suspect, whom witnesses identified to local media as a 30-year-old Daillon resident, fired around 20 shots at his victims, general prosecutor Catherine Sappey said at a news conference on Thursday.
At least two weapons were used in the attack, including a hunting gun and a historical army rifle known as a carbine, which dates back to the first half of the 20th Century.
Police had previously confiscated weapons from the suspect in 2005 when he was placed in a psychiatric ward, Catherine Sappey told journalists.
Back then, “he was not known for having issued threats,” she added.
The assailant is thought to have been related to some of his victims, who include a couple, the general prosecutor said.
The woman died from her injuries while the man is still in hospital. The couple have two children.
The motives for the attack remain unclear at this stage.
Three people are dead and two others are injured after a gunman has opened fire in Daillon village in Switzerland
Police had rushed to the village after calls reporting that several people were lying in the street after a spate of gunfire.
“At the moment there is incomprehension and shock here in Valais,” police spokesman Jean-Marie Bornet said.
“The toll is very, very heavy. It’s a somber start to the year for the canton.”
Jean-Marie Bornet added that darkness had hampered police efforts to detain the suspect.
“It wasn’t easy to intervene in the darkness. The gunman turned his weapon on the officers, who had to shoot him in order not to be injured themselves.”
Nathalie Frizzi, an eyewitness who lives close to the scene of the shooting, told local daily Le Nouvelliste she had been walking her dog when she heard loud bangs.
“There were people running around near the chapel,” she is quoted as saying.
“At first I didn’t realize what was going. I thought children were shooting at cats and I called out for them to stop. I am still shocked that I could have been hit by a bullet.”
Gun attacks are rare in Switzerland, but shooting is a very popular sport in the country and the level of gun ownership is high.
There are an estimated two to three million guns in circulation, although no-one knows the exact number because there is no national firearms register.
In addition to the semi-automatic assault rifle that all those serving in the army store at home, there are thousands of hunting rifles and pistols.
Most towns and villages having a shooting club that meets for target practice at least once a week.
Gabrielle Giffords has attended court to see Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who shot her in Arizona last year, sentenced to life in prison.
Jared Lee Loughner shot congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the head and killed six others.
Gabrielle Giffords attended the hearing with her husband, Mark Kelly, who spoke to Jared Lee Loughner directly and told him that the shooting had changed his wife’s life but had not dented her spirit.
Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 counts in a deal to spare him the death penalty.
He is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
It was the first time Jared Lee Loughner, who did not speak at Thursday’s hearing, had faced his victims in court.
Mark Kelly said: “You may have put a bullet through her head, but you haven’t put a dent in her spirit and commitment to make the world a better place.
“Although you were mentally ill, you were responsible. You have decades upon decades to contemplate what you did, but from this moment, Gabby and I are done thinking about you.”
In addition to the six fatalities, a total of 13 people were wounded in the January 2011 shooting at an outdoor political meeting in Tucson.
Earlier, court-appointed experts said Jared Lee Loughner suffered from schizophrenia and delusions.
Gabrielle Giffords has attended court to see Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who shot her in Arizona last year, sentenced to life in prison
In May 2011, his case was put on hold as he was deemed unfit to stand trial.
But that ruling was reversed after Jared Lee Loughner went through more than a year of treatment in prison.
Among those due to address the Tucson hearing are Suzi Hileman, who was shot three times while trying to save her nine-year-old neighbor.
“He has to pay the consequences for what he did, and justice will be served,” Suzi Hileman told the Associated Press news agency.
Mavy Stoddard, whose husband died shielding her from bullets, was also scheduled to speak.
Gabrielle Giffords resigned from Congress in January 2012 to focus on her recovery.
Her former aide, Ron Barber, also wounded in the attack, served out the rest of her term after winning a special election. He is also due to address Thursday’s hearing.
On Tuesday, Ron Barber ran in the election for a newly-created congressional district in Arizona.
The full result has yet to be announced.
Police have detained a gunman who held four people hostage at CIC bank in the southern city of Toulouse, France, for almost seven hours.
The man initially demanded money but when he was refused, a shot was fired and the hostages taken.
Claiming to be linked to al-Qaeda, he demanded to speak to the elite Raid police unit that killed Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah nearby in March.
He freed two hostages before police stormed the bank and detained him.
The gunman was said to have been wounded in the thigh, but not seriously. His two remaining hostages are not thought to have been harmed.
The man went into the branch of the CIC bank at 10:10 local time (08:10 GMT), taking the manager and three other people hostage.
The area around the bank was cordoned off and two nearby schools were closed.
Special police units from the GIPN (Groupe d’intervention de la police nationale) arrived from Marseille and Bordeaux.
Police have detained a gunman who held four people hostage at CIC bank in the southern city of Toulouse
No officers from Raid – which has its headquarters north of Paris, about 600 km (400 miles) from Toulouse – were deployed to the scene.
A police union source told the regional newspaper Ouest-France it was not clear whether the man’s claim about al-Qaeda was “serious or a fantasy”.
More than four hours into the siege, police said a woman hostage had been freed in exchange for food and water. A second woman was released some time afterwards.
Public prosecutor Michel Valet told reporters that the man “wishes to let it be known that he is not acting for money, but for religious reasons”.
The hostage-taker was believed to be around 30 years old and known to the authorities, Toulouse newspaper La Depeche reported. He was from Castres, to the east of Toulouse, and one source told the paper he was a schizophrenic who had broken off his treatment.
His sister, who was brought to the scene during the afternoon to help in negotiations, revealed that her brother was not religious and had been in and out of social care since childhood.
After almost seven hours, the siege came to an end. Three explosions had been heard, possibly stun grenades, shortly before news emerged of the gunman’s arrest.
The gunman had come out of the building with one of the two hostages, reportedly threatening him with a gun, prompting the special police unit to launch its assault.
He was shot in the thigh, La Depeche reported, before being arrested. He was then taken to hospital.
The bank in which the drama unfolded is a few hundred metres from Mohamed Merah’s flat, in an area adjacent to the barracks where Raid police were based during the March siege that ended in his death.
Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent, killed seven people in three separate attacks before he was shot dead by police. His victims included three children and a teacher at a Jewish school, and three soldiers.
Mohamed Merah filmed his attacks and sent the footage to police.
He was shot dead by a police sniper on 22 March after commandos stormed his flat.
Mohamed Merah was suspected to have had an accomplice within the Muslim community.
In the wake of the shootings, the French authorities set up an investigation into whether Mohamed Merah had accomplices and into possible Islamist indoctrination practices in prisons.
They have shown zero tolerance to anyone known to have used Islamist internet sites or to have had links to a fringe al-Qaeda group to which Mohamed Merah is said to have belonged.
On 7 June, a man armed with a shotgun took hostage a security guard at the French weather service, Meteo France. The hostage-taker fired several shots and was seriously injured when police returned fire.
His hostage was uninjured.