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Three dead in Austrian hostage drama

Armed Austrian police block a road near Grosspriel, on September 17, 2013
Armed Austrian police block a road near Grosspriel, on September 17, 2013. A poacher in Austria has shot dead two police officers and an emergency worker and has taken another officer hostage, according to local media reports.

A poacher in Austria has shot dead two police officers and an emergency worker and has taken another officer hostage, media reports said Tuesday.

Police had attempted to stop the man in his car late on Monday near Annaberg, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Vienna, but he fled, the reports said.

One newspaper said that he then opened fire on police after his vehicle drove into a ditch, shooting one police commando in the neck and then a paramedic who tried to treat him.

At a roadblock he reportedly then shot dead a second police officer, took another prisoner and stole a police car, driving some 60 kilometres to his farm at Kollapriel near Melk.

On Tuesday morning he was still inside the farm, possibly with his children, some reports said, and surrounded by large numbers of armed police with the area cordoned off.

The Austria Press Agency reported that the gunman and police had exchanged fire several times during the standoff.One report said he had hand grenades.

The reports added that the poacher was well known in the local area for giving police and licensed hunters the run-around, often leaving the heads of dead animals on roads.

Austrian police guard a roadblock near Grosspriel, on September 17, 2013
Austrian police guard a roadblock near Grosspriel, on September 17, 2013. A poacher in Austria has shot dead two police officers and an emergency worker and has taken another officer hostage, according to local media reports.

He was said to be in his 50s and to have had his hunting licence revoked several years ago.

Police declined to comment, while the interior ministry said only that two police officers and a paramedic had been "hit by bullets" and that a police officer was "missing".

"The suspect fled in his car to his house. That is where he is currently located. It is surrounded by police," a statement from the ministry said.

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