Lihula shooter, who killed two, dies in prison

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Mikk Tarraste during his trial for double murder.
Mikk Tarraste during his trial for double murder. Source: Verner Vilgas/ERR

Mikk Tarraste, the so-called Lihula shooter, who killed two and injured five others in a shooting spree in June 2020, is dead, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed.

Tarraste died in prison, news portal Delfi reports (link in Estonian), where he was incarcerated on a life sentence. There were no suspicious circumstances, the justice ministry says, though could not confirm which institution Tarraste was incarcerated in at the time of his death.

Ministry of Justice spokesperson Liis Lumiste told ERR Saturday evening that: "The prison is investigating all the circumstances thoroughly. The prison does everything in its power to ensure safety, but, unfortunately, preventing a suicide is not always possible."

Almost two years ago to the day, on June 6 2020, Tarraste, 33, opened fire on a motorcyclist and two passenger vehicles carrying a total of nine people, near the town of Lihula, Pärnu County.

The motorcyclist was killed, while the occupants of the two cars survived unharmed.

Tarraste, a former Defense League (Kaitseliit) volunteer, subsequently attempted to return to a summer property he owned, opening fire on a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction on the Tuudi-Raudtee tee, killing a woman and injuring three others, including two children.

Tarraste's crime is one of the most serious and exceptional cases in Estonian legal history, while in April the Supreme Court ruled that a life sentence put in place by the second-tier Tallinn Circuit Court, and an advance on the original 20-year sentence imposed, would remain in force, and dismissed his appeal.

This article was updated to include the quote from the justice ministry spokesperson.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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