February 27, 2015 11:22:11 am
A gunman shot and killed four people Friday before he was found dead at a home in a city near the capital Seoul in the second such incident in three days, police officials said.
Shooting incidents are rare in South Korea, which tightly controls gun possession, and the two deadly shootings this week will likely trigger a debate on whether the country should tighten its control on hunting weapons that can be legally owned.
A police official from Hwaseong City, who didn’t want to be named, citing office rules, said the victims included a policeman who was one of the first officers to arrive at the scene. The official said the suspect, 75, is believed to be the brother of an 86-year-old victim, whose wife, 84, was also dead.
The suspect was found dead with a gunshot wound in what the police believed to be a suicide. The daughter-in-law of the dead couple managed to escape by jumping from a second-floor window before alerting the police, and is currently being treated at a hospital for a minor back injury.
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Police said the murder weapon was believed to be a hunting gun. The gunman had retrieved the gun from a nearby police station about an hour before the morning shooting, the police official said.
South Koreans can obtain licenses for shotguns and air rifles for the purpose of hunting animals, but they are required to keep the weapons at police stations and use them only during legal hunting periods. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the suspect owned the gun or had a proper license for it.
The incident follows another shooting on Wednesday when a gunman shot and killed three people in Sejong City in the central part of the country before apparently killing himself. The gunman appeared to have used two shotguns he owned and had licenses for.
According to figures from the National Police Agency, South Koreans legally owned about 160,000 guns as of January, a figure that included hunting weapons and self-defense tools such as gas-emitting guns.
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