Austrian police hunting for the killer of four people found the charred body early Wednesday of what they believe was the gunman after pushing through a wall into a smoke-filled hidden basement on the farm grounds the suspect had holed up in.
Regional police spokesman Roland Scherscher told reporters SWAT teams discovered the body after extinguishing a fire in the small cellar that was accessible only through a hidden door.
He said the corpse was so badly burned that it was impossible to identify it but police assumed it was that of the gunman, who had holed up on the farm grounds more than 24 hours before the charred remains were found.
Police “had to push against the wall to enter the room,” he said. Because “the perpetrator could have been hiding behind each corner,” the search took more than four hours as police cautiously combed through the two story building, said Schercher.
Police said final identification and cause of death would have to wait until forensic experts had finished their work. They said the assumption was that the suspect had laid the fire.
The gunman killed three police officers and a paramedic early Tuesday before barricading himself in a farm building near Melk, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Vienna.