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Three Austrian Police Officers Shot, Killed by Gunman

KOLLAPRIEL, Austria (AP) — A gunman in Austria killed four people, including three police officers, and was firing sporadically Tuesday at police after barricading himself in a farm building, the Interior Ministry said.

SWAT teams blocked off the area around the farm in Melk, a central town in Lower Austria province some 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Vienna.

Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck said two policemen and the driver of an emergency rescue vehicle were killed overnight in the nearby town of Annaberg.

Another officer who had been missing was found Tuesday shot dead in his patrol car, he said. A fourth policeman was wounded.

Grundboeck would not confirm Austrian media reports that the suspect had carjacked the police vehicle and took the policeman hostage before shooting him after his own car had stalled in an escape attempt.

State broadcaster ORF reported that the suspect was a 55-year-old poacher. A regional police official who refused to be identified on the phone said police were unsuccessful so far in attempts to establish contact with him.

Grundboeck said the gunman fled by car when approached by police, then shot a member of Austria's Cobra SWAT team after his vehicle landed in a ditch.

The suspect shot and killed the emergency driver as the man was giving first aid to the wounded policeman, and then fatally shot the second police officer at a roadblock before barricading himself, Grundboeck said.

The surviving police officer was shot while his partner was being helped by the rescue worker. Grundboeck said his condition was not life-threatening.

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AP Bureau chief George Jahn reported from Vienna.

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