Iceland, which has a tiny population of around 320,000, has a low crime rate and gun violence is extremely rare. Its regular police force does not carry firearms.
Haraldur Johannessen, National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, said Monday's incident was unprecedented.
Police said officers were called to an apartment in the Reykjavik suburb of Arbaer early Monday when a man fired a shotgun from inside the flat. Two policemen, who were not armed, were shot at when trying to enter the gunman's apartment.
Witnesses told local media that a smoke bomb was thrown into the apartment through a broken window in efforts to subdue the man. A special armed unit then entered and fired at the man, who was rushed to the hospital, where he died. No one else has been injured.
The motives of the man, who has not been named, are unclear. According to RUV, Iceland's national television station, the gunman was a man in his fifties and had been making threats to his neighbors.
Shotguns for hunting are legal in Iceland. Many Icelanders believe that the country rarely sees gun violence in part because handguns are banned.
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