Court places Lihula shooter into custody

The Lihula shooter being taken into custody.
The Lihula shooter being taken into custody. Source: Still from a video | Verner Vilgas/ERR

The Pärnu County Court on Monday placed into custody the man who on Saturday evening opened fire, killing two and injuring three people, among them two children who sustained severe injuries.

The court acceded to the corresponding application by the West District Prosecutor's Office and placed Mikk Tarraste, aged 32, into custody for an initial period of up to two months.

Tarraste's motive remained unclear during questioning on Sunday evening, Kaido Kõplas, head of the West Prefect of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), said on the "Terevisioon" morning program of Estonian public broadcaster ERR on Monday morning.

"We have interrogated the suspect, the questioning was concluded on Sunday at around 10 p.m. His exact motive is unclear," Kõplas said.

Kõplas noted the police are comparing the suspect's testimony with the events. 

"The motive is unclear, however. We cannot disclose in detail what he said," he added.

The head of the West Prefect said that it is known that the suspect had consumed alcohol and strong sedatives. Whether or not the pharmaceuticals had been obtained legally will be ascertained during the investigation. 

"Alcohol and medicines do not mix," Kõplas said.

Tarraste has been apprehended as suspect in a shooting that took place on Saturday evening. He is suspected of having opened fire at a car in which there were five people - a man, aged 58, a woman, 61, and three children, aged five, three and nine. The two adults in the car were the children's grandparents.

Üllar Kütt, head of the police station of Parnu, said on Sunday: "The 61-year-old woman died of her injuries and the children, aged five and three, are in hospital in a severe condition. The 58-year-old man was discharged from hospital this morning [Sunday - BNS] and allowed to recuperate at home. The nine-year-old child was examined by the emergency medical specialists and, found to be unharmed, was able to return to their parents."

According to the information available to the police, Tarraste caused a traffic accident near the Olerex gas station in Lihula, Pärnu County, ramming two cars and the wall of a building before leaving the scene. The alarm center was informed of the incident at 9:45 p.m.

Approximately ten minutes later, the alarm center received a call from a motorcyclist who said he had seen the vehicle drive away from the scene. The biker is known to have followed the car. At approximately 10 p.m. the alarm center was informed of shots having been fired and at 10:10 p.m. that the biker may have been shot at. The first police patrol arrived at the scene 20 minutes after the police had been informed of a possible shooting.

It was found at the scene that Tarraste had shot and killed the 40-year-old man who had followed him on a motorcycle.

Tarraste was apprehended by the police at 12:40 a.m. on Sunday.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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