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Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
Gunman kills 14 in Swiss assembly
Rescue workers
Ten people were injured, eight of them critically
A gunman has gone on the rampage in a regional parliament in central Switzerland, killing at least 14 people before committing suicide.

He started firing all around for several minutes. It was really terrible

Ten others were injured when Friedrich Leibacher, 57, burst into the assembly session disguised as a police officer.

He opened fire with an assault rifle and a pistol. Eight of them remain in a critical condition

The attack took place at the regional parliament building in the town of Zug, 25 km (16 miles) south of Zurich, at 1030 (0830 GMT) on Thursday.

Police say he detonated an explosive device before turning his gun on himself.

Leibacher, who had been embroiled in a long-running dispute with the local authorities, left behind a confession note describing his actions as a "Day of rage for the Zug mafia".


Officials dived behind desks as Leibacher opened fire.

Witnesses reported there was blood everywhere and one member of parliament compared it to an execution.

Flag on Zug parliament
Flags will fly at half-mast for three days
"I was just outside the door of the parliament when he came in with a rifle, with several pistols and with what I think was a hand grenade," one eyewitness told Reuters news agency.

"He started firing all around for several minutes. It was really terrible."

The guns used by Leibacher are standard issue weapons which Swiss nationals have to keep in case of call up.


Leibacher appears to have formed a grudge against local authorities after he became involved in a dispute with bus drivers and transport officials.

Members of the Swiss national council in Bern
Parliament was suspended as deputies heard the news
One government official, Robert Bisig - who was a particular target of Leibacher's - told a press conference that a court had this week dismissed seven suits brought by Leibacher against the authorities.

Leibacher is thought to have held Mr Bisig personally responsible for legal action which local transport authorities had brought against him.

The Swiss President Mortiz Leuenberger has ordered all flags to fly at half mast for three days. The national parliament in Bern was suspended when deputies received the news.

Although violent crime is extremely rare in Switzerland, gun ownership is widespread due to the obligation to carry out military service and the popularity of shooting as a sport.

There are only minimal controls at public buildings but the President of the House of Representatives, Peter Hess, has said that may now need to be reviewed.

The BBC's Justin Webb
"This leaves a nation deeply scarred"
Michael Hollingdale from Swiss Radio International
"Apparently he held a long term grudge against public officials in the area"
See also:

27 Sep 01 | Europe
Eyewitness: Swiss attack horror
27 Sep 01 | Europe
Switzerland and the gun
30 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Switzerland
16 Jan 01 | Europe
Timeline: Switzerland
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