Explosion and shooting at Estonian Defense Ministry

A gunman who had been occupying the Estonian Defense Ministry in Tallinn on Thursday has committed suicide. Authorities confirmed there had been shooting and an explosion inside the ministry. There were no other casualties.

The man, armed with two guns, smoke grenades and an explosive device, burst into the building forcing the evacuation of all employees. Police cordoned off the area.

The Estonian Prosecutor’s Office has identified the attacker as Karen Drambyan, 57. The Armenian-born man was a member of the Estonian United Left Party, which represents the Russian community.

The statement issued by the office dismissed reports that Drambyan had taken two persons hostage as had earlier been reported. It also denied earlier reports that he was a former member of the military.

Estonian PM Andrus Ansip suggested that the attack could have been inspired by the recent massacre in Norway.

An eight-member special police taskforce entered the building at 4:42 pm. There were four shots fired inside the building, then a blast was heard followed by three more shots.

A second special police task force accompanied by three doctors entered the ministry building at 4:52 pm. Two rescue teams and a vehicle with bomb disposal experts are also at the scene.

The siege ended at 5.20 pm local time when a police spokesperson announced that “the attacker had been neutralized” and “no one else had been hurt.”

Defense Minister Mart Laar was not present in the building at the time of the attack.

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