Police Officers Killed in Rare Burst of Gun Violence in China
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BEIJING -- Two men wielding a shotgun and a homemade pistol fatally shot three police officers and an assistant and staged a series of carjackings in a city in northeastern China, state news media reported Wednesday, a rare example of gun violence in a nation where average citizens are largely barred from owning firearms.
The episode in Tai'an, a city in Shandong Province, left five others wounded after officers and assistants of the city public security bureau visited a home to question a murder suspect.
The official Xinhua news agency reported that three officers and one assistant were killed at the home, shot by two men inside who fired through an accordion gate that covered the doorway. The four, from a neighborhood precinct station, were unarmed; officers in the public security bureau, as the Chinese police are called, sometimes do not carry weapons.
The two men fled and hijacked four vehicles during a long chase that ended in downtown Tai'an after police officers rammed their vehicle into the suspects' car. Two drivers of hijacked cars were among those wounded, Xinhua stated. The others were police officials. One suspect was captured alive. The second was reported to have committed suicide by shooting himself.
News reports stated that officers recovered a double-barrel shotgun, a homemade pistol, seven shotgun cartridges and 180 bullets. A woman who answered the telephone at Tai'an public security headquarters declined to comment.
Gun violence is exceedingly rare in China, where almost all firearms are in state hands. The only significant exception grants hunters the right to own guns, but only after an onerous and strict application process.
First Published January 5, 2011 12:01 am