Estonia highway shooting leaves 2 dead, 3 wounded

HELSINKI (AP) — A man involved in a traffic accident opened fire as he fled the scene in southwestern Estonia, leaving two people dead and at least three others wounded, including two children, police said Sunday.

The 32-year-old suspect was apprehended early Sunday after an extensive police operation near the small town of Lihula, close to where the clash took place, police said in a statement. Prosecutors say he will face murder charges.

According to police, a motorcyclist at a gas station had witnessed the suspect’s car colliding with two other cars nearby and noticed that he was about to flee the scene. The biker then chased the car on the highway and the suspect shot at him. Police said the biker later died of his wounds.

The suspect also opened fire toward a car carrying a man, a woman and two young children aged 3 and 5. The woman in her fifties died of her wounds in an ambulance while the children were severely injured but are now in stable condition at a hospital, police said. The man was lightly injured.

“As far as we know, the injured people (in the car) were not familiar to the shooter. They were just people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” police spokesman Kaido Koplas said, according to Estonian newspaper Ohtuleht.

According to Estonian media, the suspect, who had a summer cottage in the region, was involved with the paramilitary Estonian Defense League, had no previous criminal record and had four registered guns.

Local newspaper Parnu Postimees said the man had worked as a nurse and a teacher in the health care sector.

A preliminary police investigation reported that the suspect was under the influence of alcohol during the shooting but the motive for his actions remained unclear.

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