Discuss as:

Three women killed after gunman's drunken rampage in Swiss village

A 33-year old man is under arrest after going on an alleged drunken rampage, killing three people and wounding two others in Daillon, Switzerland. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.

GENEVA -- Three women were killed and two men were wounded late on Wednesday when a gunman opened fire in the Swiss village of Daillon, Swiss police and prosecutors said on Thursday.

The 33-year-old gunman, who has not been named, threatened police when they tried to arrest him and was shot in the chest before being arrested and taken to hospital, police in the Swiss canton -- or region -- of Valais said. No police officers were wounded.

Gun ownership is widespread in Switzerland and voters rejected a proposal in February 2011 to tighten the country's liberal firearms laws.

The women killed in Daillon were aged 32, 54 and 79. They were all shot at least twice, in the head and chest. The youngest was married to one of the injured men and they had young children together, regional public prosecutor Catherine Seppey told a news conference.

The injured men were aged 33 and 63, respectively.

The gunman was a local resident who had been in psychiatric care in 2005 and was unemployed and living on welfare benefits, police said. His only previous conviction was for marijuana use.

He used at least two firearms -- an old Swiss army carbine and a rifle capable of firing lead shot -- even though his weapons had been seized and destroyed in 2005, and he was not currently listed as having any guns.


He began firing from his apartment, shooting at people in the street and in neighboring buildings, but later came out into the street, police said, adding that he appeared to have fired more than 20 shots.

French-language Swiss website 20minutes.ch quoted villagers as saying the gunman had been drinking heavily. It also said he was armed with an assault rifle, but the public prosecutor did not confirm that information.

Police were alerted by a caller who said several people were lying wounded on the ground at about 8:50 p.m. local time (2:50 p.m. ET) on Wednesday.

Daillon is close to the town of Sion, the capital of the canton Valais.

Mass shootings are rare in Switzerland, although gun possession is widespread -- some estimates run to at least one for every three of its 8 million inhabitants. Many are stored in people's attics, a legacy of Switzerland's policy of arming its men to defend its neutrality.

Denis Balibouse / Reuters

Police officers stand near a crime scene in the Swiss village of Daillon on Thursday after a gunman shot five people.

More world stories from NBC News:

Follow World News from NBCNews.com on Twitter and Facebook