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Three dead as gunman opens fire on colleagues at Swiss business

Three dead as gunman opens fire on colleagues at Swiss business
A police officer stands on Wednesday outside the Kronoswiss wood panel plant in Menznau, near Lucerne, where three people were killed when a gunman opened fire earlier in the day.
(Sebastien Bozon / Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)
<i>This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.</i>

PARIS -- A gunman opened fire on colleagues at a Swiss wood-processing plant Wednesday morning, an attack that left three people dead, including the assailant, and seven others wounded.

The gunman walked into the staff canteen at the Kronoswiss wood-processing factory at Menznau, near Lucerne in central Switzerland, about 9 a.m. during a staff breakfast break and began shooting.

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Police said the 42-year-old suspect, who was not named, had worked at the plant for a decade and did not fire at random but picked off specific colleagues with a handgun.

A spokesperson for Kronoswiss, which employs about 450 workers, said the gunman had always been “very calm” and “somebody you would not notice” during the time he worked for the company.

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It wasn’t immediately clear how the gunman died.

Gun ownership is widespread in Switzerland due to a long-standing tradition of allowing those who complete their compulsory military service to keep their rifles and weapons. Many serving in the military are reservists allowed to store weapons at home.

A referendum in 2012 aimed at tightening firearm controls was defeated.

The number of gun crime is low with 24 killings in 2009, a rate far lower per capita than in the U.S.

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Other high-profile incidents include the 2001 shooting of 14 people at a City Council meeting in Zug, near Lucerne, and an attack last month by a 33-year-old gunman who killed three women and wounded two men in the village of Daillon in the south of Switzerland.

[For the record, 10:20 a.m. Feb. 27: An early version of this post incorrectly referred to the shooting in Zug as recent. The killings occurred in 2001.]

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