Vienna shooting: Slovak police warned gunman tried to buy bullets


Police in Slovakia have revealed that “suspects from Austria” tried to buy ammunition there in the summer and that Austrian authorities were tipped off.

Four people were fatally shot and 23 others wounded when a gunman went on the rampage in the centre of Vienna on Monday night.

It has since emerged he had been released early from a jail sentence for trying to join jihadists in Syria.

Reports suggest his trip to buy bullets failed as he had no gun licence.

According to German media, the 20-year-old, who was shot dead by police, travelled to neighbouring Slovakia in July to buy ammunition for a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle but returned empty-handed.

Slovak police confirmed that they had passed the message on to their Austrian colleagues immediately, adding they would not comment further.

Who were the victims?

More details have emerged about the four people murdered in the centre of Vienna in the hours before new coronavirus restrictions were due to come into force:

  • A 24-year-old German woman was shot while working as a waitress in front of a restaurant in Ruprechtsplatz, a police spokesman told APA news agency
  • A 21-year-old man originally from North Macedonia was shot near Fleischmarkt
  • A 39-year-old Austrian man was killed in front of a fast food restaurant in Schwedenplatz
  • A 44-year-old Austrian woman died later in hospital of her wounds.
A mourner places a candle at the site of a gun attack in Vienna, Austria, November 4, 2020
image captionMourners placed candles at the site of one of the attacks on Wednesday

Among the 23 people wounded in the attack, 13 suffered bullet wounds and seven are in a serious condition. Most are from Austria, but some are from Germany, Slovakia, Luxembourg and other countries.

Austrian authorities say the killer was armed with an automatic weapon, a pistol and a machete as well as a fake explosive belt.

They were initially unsure if there had been more than one gunman, after Monday night’s attack which lasted nine minutes across six crime scenes. Jihadist group Islamic State (IS) claimed on its propaganda outlet Amaq that it was behind the attack.

Map showing crime scene in Vienna

But Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said there was no indication of a second attacker, even though it could not be ruled out.

The centre of Vienna began returning to normal on Wednesday and Mayor Michael Ludwig held a minute’s silence in memory of the victims, as Austria marked a second day of mourning.

Meanwhile, Swiss police arrested two people, in addition to the 14 detained in Austria who were linked to the gunman.

Swiss Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter alleged that the pair had been “colleagues” of the gunman. “The three men also met in person,” she told St Galler Tagblatt.


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