Sun. Jul 21st, 2024


Formed as a country in 1944, Iceland has never had a police shooting resulting in the death of anyone until this week.

In Reykjavik, police shot and killed a 59 year old man. The incident was front-page coverage and ultimately garnered a national apology from the country’s top police official: It was the first time that the country’s police have ever shot anybody in an operation. Ever.

Iceland’s total population is about 320,000 with 1/3 of those living in Reykjavik.  Also 1/3 of the population own guns…. using for hunting.  The police usually do not carry weapons.  Violence is almost non-existent in Iceland.

Reports state that the 59 year old man had a history of mental illness. Police said officers were called to an apartment in the Reykjavik suburb of Arbaer early Monday when a man fired a shotgun from inside the flat. Two policemen, who were not armed, were shot at when trying to enter the gunman’s apartment.

Shotguns for hunting are legal in Iceland, handguns are not.

Witnesses stated that a smoke bomb was thrown into the man’s apartment in order to subdue him.  He was making threats to his neighbors.  Nothing was working.  A special armed unit was then called in.  They fired at him, he was hit and transported to the hospital where he died.

How totally different from the violence and typical police response in our nation.  Certainly gives one pause for thought.


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