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Iceland police kill a man for the first time in the nation's history

Officers outside a house where a man was shot dead by police in Reykjavik on Tuesday. Halldor Kolbeins / AFP - Getty Images

Police in Iceland killed a person for the first time in the nation’s history after they responded to shots fired at officers on Monday.

Two officers were fired on after going to an apartment in the country’s capital Reykjavik, police said in a statement. Like most of the country’s police force, they were unarmed as they investigated reports of a “loud bang” at around 3 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET).

When a SWAT team arrived the man again fired on the officers, hitting one of them and sending him flying down the stairs, the statement added. It did not reveal the condition of the officer, but said the man then began firing through a window at them.

The team then entered the apartment and shot the man, before rushing him to hospital, the statement said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said they regretted the incident and wished to express sympathy to the man’s family.

Icelandic website Visir later named the man as Sigrid Oscar Jónasdóttur and his sister Sigridur Jónasdóttir blamed poor health care for the mentally ill for the man’s death. “There are no resources for these people,” she told the site. 

Iceland, with a population of around 320,000, has a low crime rate and gun violence is extremely rare.