Austrian police pursuing a poacher who killed three police officers and a paramedic while fleeing arrest said yesterday they believed they had found his charred remains in a hidden room at his farmhouse.
Hundreds of armed police backed by army tanks had surrounded the house since Tuesday, in a drama that broke out the day before when Alois Huber was stopped by commandos acting on a tip-off that he was hunting illegally.
“Police officers wanted to open the door” to the hidden room, but “fire broke out,” police spokesman Roland Scherscher said in the early hours of yesterday after a lengthy standoff.
When the fire was brought under control, “the charred body of a man, believed to be the poacher and murder suspect, was discovered” after a five-hour operation, he added.
The three slain police officers were aged between 38 and 51, while the dead Red Cross paramedic was said to be 70.
The deadly drama began on Monday when commandos attempted to stop Huber, a well-known poacher, in his car near the town of Annaberg. He drove through a road block and opened fire, fatally shooting one of the commandos in the neck.
Less than an hour later, while the commando was still receiving medical treatment, he opened fire again, killing the driver of an ambulance called to the scene and injuring a second police officer.
The suspect, who owns a small transport company, then fled on foot, traveling several kilometers before firing at two other police officers, killing one on the spot and taking the other hostage.
He stole their police car and drove, with his captive, about 60km to his farmhouse in Grosspriel near the city of Melk.
Police said on Tuesday that the dead body of the officer taken hostage had been found in the police car in a shed at the farm.
The house had been surrounded since about 7am on Tuesday by about 100 police officers as Huber continued to fire at them.