Police prefect: Lihula shooter's exact motive unclear ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Scene of the shooting in LIhula.
Scene of the shooting in LIhula. Source: ERR

On Sunday night, police concluded the questioning of a shooter who killed two people and injured three more near Lihula the night before, but the 32-year-old male's exact motive still remains unclear, West Prefecture Prefect Kaido Kõplas said on ETV morning program "Terevisioon" on Monday morning.

Kõplas added that in order to understand what happened on Saturday night, investigators are now comparing statements made by the suspect with facts determined at the scene.

"We hope that the motive becomes clear soon, but right now it is still incomprehensible and unclear," the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) prefect said. "He has not yet made a statement regarding why exactly he did this."

In an interview with Vikerraadio, Kõplas also noted that the suspect did not deny the shootings during questioning.

According to investigators' current information, prior to the shootings, the suspect had been at his country home near Lihula, where he had consumed alcohol in the morning. According to the results of a rapid test, he had also consumed strong sedatives; the investigation will reveal whether these sedatives had been legally prescribed to him by a doctor. It also has yet to be determined whether the male had previously undergone psychiatric treatment.

Shootings likely not premeditaded

On Saturday night, the suspect drove with the intention of going to the store, and at approximately 9:45 p.m., he caused a crash at an Olerex gas station in Lihula.

Kõplas stressed that combining alcohol with strong prescription drugs is not a good idea, as it can cause the person taking them to lose all sense of reality. Police are not aware of the suspect having consumed alcohol together with anyone.

According to current information, police believe that Saturday night's events were not premeditated. "He had not planned this random shooting," Kõplas said on "Vikerhommik."

It has been reported in the media that two hostages with raised hands had been spotted by the shooter, who ran into the woods by the gas station; police also received reports on Saturday night of possible suspects. According to Kõplas, however, while police followed up on these leads, they have yet to receive any confirmation. The suspect himself has denied taking any hostages, and these claims likewise went unconfirmed by police who had been at the scene.

"But the police are requesting that if anyone else was near the scene of the shooting who saw something — we have info that there may have been more eyewitnesses there — then please be sure to call 112 so that we can clarify the circumstances," the prefect said.

The suspect had four firearms registered to his name, including two pistols and two guns, one of which was semi-automatic. The firearms he used at the scene and one found later had all been legally registered.

According to Kõplas, the children to be seriously injured in the shootings are currently improving at the hospital. "The children are breathing on their own and in stable condition, and their lives are not in danger," he said.

The police and prosecutors are to take the suspect into custody on Monday.

"The police's job and goal is to gather all the facts as quickly as possible, and forward this to the Prosecutor's Office as quickly as possible," the prefect said.

Speaking on "Vikerhommik," Kõplas also noted that he personally believed that the current process for applying for a weapons permit is too simple, adding that someone who has ever been punished for a deliberate criminal act should never be permitted to possess a firearm.

Currently, anyone not currently carrying a criminal punishment is eligible to apply for a weapons permit.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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