Swiss police searched the western city of Biel on Thursday for a gunman who fired several shots at officers, wounding one of them, following a dispute over the forced sale of his home.

The 67—year—old suspect barricaded himself inside the house on Wednesday, opening fire at the police with a rifle as officers tried to negotiate with him shortly after midnight, Bern regional police said in a statement. The gunman then fled.

The wounded officer was in stable condition in a hospital after undergoing an emergency operation, the statement said.

Local media reported that police special forces and dog teams from around the country took up positions in the area and also searched nearby woods.

An army helicopter equipped with heat detecting cameras was also used in the search, police said.

Parts of the city, which is situated about 20 miles (30 kilometers) northwest of the capital Bern, were evacuated and schools were closed.

It was unclear how the gunman managed to escape from the house, which authorities had ordered sold and invited potential buyers to view on Wednesday.

Shootings are not uncommon in Switzerland, where gun clubs are popular and many men have army rifles at home as part of the country’s tradition of military readiness.

The Defence Ministry estimates there are about 2.2 million firearms in the nation of 7.5 million people. The independent Small Arms Survey puts the figure at between 2.3 million and 4.5 million.

In 2001, an unemployed man shot dead 14 people at a local parliament in the central city of Zug before killing himself.

Keywords: Murderhome saledispute

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