Gunman Who Shot 3 at Zurich Islamic Center Is Found Dead, Police Say


The Islamic center after a shooting in Zurich, on Monday.

Ennio Leanza/European Pressphoto Agency

GENEVA — A gunman who wounded three people attending prayers after opening fire at an Islamic center in Zurich has been found dead, apparently after committing suicide, the Swiss police said on Tuesday.

Officials described the man as a 24-year-old Swiss citizen of Spanish descent, but they did not identify him by name. They said he had no known links to terrorist groups, but that he was already wanted for the fatal stabbing of a friend whose body was found on Sunday at a playground in Zurich.

“We don’t believe it was a terror act,” Christiane Lentjes Meili, the chief of police for the canton of Zurich, said of the attack on Monday. “We have no evidence of a connection to terrorism.”

Three men were wounded in the attack, two of them seriously; all are in stable condition.

The attack occurred around 5 p.m. at a prayer center used mostly by Somali and Eritrean refugees, just south of the city’s main train station. Hours after the attack, the police found the body of a man on the Gassner Bridge, near the city center and a short walk from the Islamic center.

Witnesses to the attack reported that the gunman, dressed in dark clothes and a woolen cap, had escaped on foot. The police in Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, used tracker-dog units to hunt the gunman.

On Tuesday morning, Peat Jost, a spokesman for the Zurich police, confirmed in a phone interview that the gunman was the man whose body had been found. “Our investigation says the dead man is the shooter,” he said.

The shooting came as Germany was reeling from an attack on Monday in Berlin, where a truck rammed into a Christmas market and killed 12 people. Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that it was a terrorist attack.

The stabbing victim, a 25-year-old Swiss citizen of South American origin, and the assailant were acquaintances, but they had a falling out several months ago, the police said. The assailant was identified based on DNA found at the scene of the stabbing, and the police had already begun an intensive search for him before the shooting on Monday.

Police officers said that evidence in the assailant’s apartment suggested that he had an interest in the occult, but that the motive for the shootings was unclear.

Ms. Meili said she could not confirm reports that before opening fire, the assailant had shouted for the worshipers to go back to where they came from.

The victims were from Somalia or Eritrea, Ms. Meili said, adding that she did not have precise information about each one.

The attacker, who recently quit a job at a local store, had been arrested as a teenager for bicycle theft but had no other police record, Ms. Meili said.

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