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Churches mourn members' violent deaths

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16:03 CEST+02:00
Church communities in western Sweden are in a state of shock today after two active church members died in a shooting incident on Sunday.

A female choir leader and a male church warden from Brunskog Church were both killed in what police suspect was a murder followed by a suicide. The pair were also active in nearby Mangskog Church.

"We are all terribly upset here. This is so inconceivable," said church minister Lennart Nilsson.

"We had just enjoyed a wonderful Sunday. The cantor and I had been working together all day. And then it all ends in tragedy like this.

According to police, the woman was found dead close to the church. The warden's body lay 100 metres away.

Police are working on the hypothesis that the church warden shot the cantor with a hunting rifle before turning the weapon on himself.

At 5.30pm on Sunday police were called to the scene after a number of people heard shots being fired. As yet there are no indications as to what may have caused the incident.

A post mortem is to be carried out on the bodies in Linköping on Tuesday.

The cantor had been living in the parish for six years.

"She was very well-liked and was an accomplished church musician and choir leader," said Lennart Nilsson.

"The entire community is very distressed. It's so unreal. It hasn't really hit us yet that something like this could happen," he added.

According to Nilsson, the church warden was also "sociable and pleasant" and popular in the community.

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