Iceland police make first ever fatal shooting


A policeman puts tape across Church Street in Enfield on August 8, 2011 in London, England.


Peter Macdiarmid

A man firing a shotgun in his Iceland home has been killed in what is believed to be the first ever police shooting fatality in the country's history.

Tear gas canisters were thrown through the windows of his Reykjavik home during the Monday-morning incident in an attempt to subdue the 59-year-old man when he failed to respond to police and continued shooting.

He allegedly made threats to neighbors, leading police to evacuate the apartment building where he lived.

When the man didn't stop, he was shot as 15 to 20 police officers entered the building, with backup provided by special forces.

He was brought to the hospital, but was pronounced dead at around 10 a.m. local time.

Two members of the special forces were injured by shotgun fire when they entered the apartment, one in the face and the other in the hand.

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Iceland's national police chief, Haraldur Johannessen, told reporters the incident was "without precedent."

"The police regret this incident and wish to extend its condolences to the man's family," he added.

Iceland has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world, despite widespread gun ownership.

The 2011 Global Study on Homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime noted that the country's rate of homicide never went above 1.8 per 100,000 on any given year between 1999 and 2009.