The man wounded by police in Egilsstaðir in East Iceland last week has been sentenced to two weeks of custody, RÚV reports. The investigation covers attempted manslaughter, resisting arrest, assault, threats, and offences against public safety, as well as weapon law violations and child protective violations.
Last Thursday night, Egilsstaðir inhabitants heard gunshots and notified the police. A man in his forties had gone to another man’s house, who wasn’t at home and shot a gun repeatedly in every direction. He seems to have been armed with a shotgun and possibly another weapon. The man did not obey orders to stop shooting after the police arrived on the scene, and was shot by a policeman. He survived but was transported to Reykjavík where he underwent surgery. This is the first time a general policeman shoots a firearm in the line of duty and the second time a member of the Icelandic police uses their gun.
Gunman in two-week custody
The district public prosecutor demanded protective custody on Saturday for two weeks, rÚV reports, to which the District Court agreed on the grounds of public safety.
The man is still in hospital but is out of the ICU and is now on a general ward. The investigation is going well but the office of the district public prosecutor is also investigating that part of the case concerning the police’s use of a firearm against the defendant.
Internal investigation completed
The East Iceland Police has completed their internal investigation of the incident. The Police states that nothing has been reported to suggest that the correct procedure wasn’t followed. The office of the district public prosecutor is investigating the case, both the alleged crimes of the man with the gun as well as the police shooting. They investigated the scene of the crime and examined witnesses.
The East Iceland police are grateful to everyone who assisted with the operation on Thursday night and its consequences, including crisis counselling and emotional support. The police also state that their thankful that the wounded man is healing. The police encourage everyone who believes they need assistance to contact professionals, such as the Egilsstaðir social services and the East Iceland healthcare centres.
mass crisis counselling centre was opened in the Egilsstaðir elementary school last Friday where Egilsstaðir inhabitants could receive crisis counselling and mental support. This morning teenagers in elementary school and secondary schools heard talks on how to react to events like this one and the importance of talking to the people around them if they felt bad.
Second time Icelandic Police shoot their guns
This is the first time that an ordinary policeman uses a firearm on duty in Iceland and the second time the police in Iceland have used a firearm. The first was in 2013 when a man died after being shot by a special forces policeman after shooting at the police from a window in his apartment in Reykjavík. For a few years, all police vehicles have been armed with a weapon box that can be opened with special permission from their supervisors, in this case, the East Iceland Police commissioner.
The National Police Commissioner’s Special Forces have carried weapons since 1992. They did not participate in the Thursday night operations as there was no time to get members of the team to east Iceland as the special forces team is situated in Reykjavík, leading to a general policeman shooting a man in Iceland for the first time. In order to use a firearm, policemen must have undergone special training in firearm use and have to pass a test every year. The Police Commissioner then decides which policemen they authorise to use firearms.
Police regulations on the use of force state that in a dire emergency, policemen should aim for the largest body part that is visible and try to minimise the damage they inflict, such as by shooting at a person’s legs.