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Swiss factory shooting leaves several dead

Police say suspected attacker is among dead at wood-processing plant in Menznau

A shooting at a wood-processing company in central Switzerland has left three people dead and seven wounded, some of them seriously, prosecutors say.

The shooting occurred shortly after 9am on Wednesday at the premises of Kronospan, a company in the small town of Menznau, west of Lucerne.

Three people were killed, among them the suspected assailant, police in Lucerne said in a statement. A further seven were wounded, several of them seriously. Officials gave no further details.

The local Neue Luzerner Zeitung newspaper cited a witness as saying that the shooter opened fire in the company canteen. It was not immediately clear who the shooter was, what the motive might have been or whether the assailant worked for the company.

According to the local town council, Kronospan has some 450 employees.

“At the moment we’re all in a state of shock,” Urs Fluder, a manager at Kronospan, told Radio Pilatus, a local station. “We will see that the families are properly informed.”

Gun ownership is widespread in Switzerland, thanks to liberal regulation, the failure of a 2012 referendum to tighten controls and a long-standing tradition for men to keep their military rifles after completing compulsory military service.

An estimated 2.3m firearms are owned by the country’s 8 million people.

But gun crime is relatively rare, with just 24 gun killings in 2009, a rate of about 0.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. The US rate that year was about 11 times higher.

Still, there have been several high-profile incidents over the years, including the killing of 14 people at a city council meeting in Zug, not far from Lucerne, in 2001.

Last month a 33-year-old man killed three women and wounded two men in a southern Swiss village.

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