A brutal murder-suicide in Limassol has prompted a debate over whether tighter gun controls should be introduced in Cyprus.
According to the police, at around 10.00pm on Monday a 32-year-old man shot and killed his estranged 27-year-old wife with an army issued G3 rifle before turning the gun on himself.
The couple’s 10 year-old daughter, who witnessed the shooting take place at her grandmother’s house, suffered a shrapnel wound to the arm and was admitted to hospital where she underwent surgery.
Police later found a note in the suspect’s car in which he explained his reasons for killing his wife and taking his life.
Authorities faced criticism after relatives of the victim said police officers had recently confiscated the 32-year-old’s gun but returned the rifle to him a few days before the shooting occurred.
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides yesterday confirmed that officers questioned the suspect in connection with domestic violence claims on September 17 and 28.
“The first time officers arrived at the house the couple were both calm and neither wanted to file a complaint.”
Angelides added that during the second police visit, 32-year-old willingly surrendered his rifle but as there was no official complaint the gun was returned the following day.
“In order for the police to seize a gun their must be a court order and an official complaint against the suspect which points to them being dangerous.”
Defence Minister Photis Photiou described the incident as “tragic”.
Asked if army reserves should be tasked with the safekeeping of their rifles, Photiou said he would be discussing the matter with the head of the National Guard.
Criticism was also fired at the police by Commissioner for Children’s Rights Leda Koursoumba who said the suspect should have been reported to the Social Services after the first time he was questioned over violence in the home.
Talk over stricter gun control measures was not welcomed by President of the Larnaca Reservist officers George Antoniou said it would be unwise to ask army reservists to return their weapons.