Selenicë, Albania | Aug 11 (Tirana Echo) – Albanian police have captured the presumed assassin of 8 people of the same family, as the country comes to terms with the first tragic mass shooting of the kind in decades.
Ridvan Zykaj, 24, who last night shot at several relatives of the Zykaj family with an AK47, leaving 8 dead and several others wounded in the village of Resulaj near Vlora in southern Albania, was found hiding nearby the crime scene and surrendered to police without any resistance.
Albania’s special forces Renea have confiscated an AK47 automatic gun and according to reports accepted the crime and asked for a lawyer to represent him. Prosecutors are currently questioning the killer.
“Thanks to a well organized operation across the territory, several house controls and sniffing dogs used by the Vlora Police Department, Renea, FNSH and Delta forces, Ridvan Zykaj has been arrested at the outskirts of Selenica. A Kalashnikov weapon has also been sequestered.” – said the police through a statement.
Earlier in the night, Zykaj had entered the houses of several of his relatives shooting at all of them. 8 were killed on the spot, including two children and several others were wounded.
During the arrest this morning, a remorseless Zykaj surrendered without any resistance and provided contradictory accounts to police officers.
He was first heard saying that he ‘didn’t remember anything as he was drunk last night’ while later had accepted the crime and asked for a lawyer to defend him.
“You arrested me too late”, Zykaj had cynically teased the police during the arrest, according to unconfirmed reports.
Speaking for Albanian media at the scene, Zykaj’s grandfather Kujtim Zykaj said his nephew had not shown any previous signs of aggressiveness or other grave mental problems. However, local media are reporting Zykaj had checked into a psychiatric hospital in Vlora a month earlier.
Despite numerous family quarrels often ending in violence, Albania has no recent memory of mass shootings of this tragic nature.
However, illegal gun ownership remains a widespread national problem. Following a chaotic armed uprising in 1997, most of the population looted army barracks and today Albania counts on of the most illegally armed populations in Europe.
Several political representatives have called for tougher laws on illegal gun ownership .
Last night, former MP and prominent socialist party politician Namik Dokle called for an emergency plenary of the parliament which should discuss special tough legislation on gun ownership.
“The tragedy need to be followed by an extraordinary plenary meeting of parliament, a special law against illegal gun ownership, with fixed term of punishment and rewards for any citizens who provide information on people hiding guns. Then a police and public campaign to encourage people to give up their weapons should follow,” – said Dokle.
There is still no reaction on a possible emergency meeting from Albania’s Parliament or Government on any special measures to be taken at this time.
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