Lone killer is sought

Police revised yesterday their initial assessment that five hunters found dead in a wood in central Greece had been shot by more than one person as they questioned a 73-year-old local man in connection to the killing. Officers had originally said that it was unlikely that one person had killed all five men but the indications yesterday were that a single killer had shot the hunters. Forensic experts found 19 spent shotgun shells at the scene of the shooting, a small wood in the area of Kalyvia near the town of Agrinion. Police said that 12 of the shells were fired by the same shotgun, which was not found at the scene. The other seven shots were fired by the hunters but it was not clear whether they had fired in self-defense or whether they discharged the guns during their hunting trip. A coroner in Patras said that each of the victims had been shot twice – once from far away and once from close range – between 5 and 6 p.m. on Saturday. The bodies of the five men, aged 17 to 33, were found on Saturday evening and officers were still struggling yesterday to find a motive for the shootings, as suspicions grew that differences between local farmers may have sparked the incident which regional police chief Vassilis Tsiatouras has described as «unprecedented.» A senior police officer involved in the investigation told Kathimerini that the victims had most probably been killed over a «trivial, stupid» matter. Police were last night questioning a 73-year-old livestock farmer from Kalyvia in connection with the alleged murders. His 40-year-old son was also called in for questioning and officers collected shotguns from the family’s home for forensic tests. Locals and police sources told Kathimerini that the unnamed 73-year-old was known to have argued with hunters a number of times because he was upset that they trespassed on his land while on their hunting trips. The unnamed man keeps about 300 sheep on his land. Police sources said that the man, whose house is close to the spot where the bodies were found, denies having any part in the shooting. A number of other local landowners were also taken in for questioning yesterday by police.

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