— Two provincial officials in Vietnam’s governing Communist Party died on Thursday after being shot in their offices by a forest ranger, who later shot himself, the country’s state-controlled news media reported.
The shootings, a rarity in Vietnam, occurred early Thursday in the northern province of Yen Bai, just before a meeting of the People’s Council, a lawmaking body, the official Vietnam News Agency said. It identified the gunman as Do Cuong Minh, the leader of Yen Bai’s forest ranger unit.
The victims were Pham Duy Cuong, the province’s Communist Party secretary and top official, and Ngo Ngoc Tuan, the chairman of the People’s Council, the news agency said. Both men were shot multiple times.
All three men were pronounced dead at Yen Bai General Hospital, according to an online report by the state-run newspaper Thanh Nien.
It gave no indication of a motive. Pham Hong Luong, a senior forestry official at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Hanoi, the capital, declined to comment.
Although petty theft is increasingly common in some Vietnamese cities, and protests by villagers over various issues occasionally turn violent, deadly shootings — especially ones that target officials — are unusual.
The one-party government prohibits citizens from owning guns, and most street-level police officers are only lightly armed.
Vietnam reported 1.51 intentional homicides per 100,000 people in 2011, up from 1.25 in 2008, according to a World Bank database that cites figures from the United Nations. But that was still below the average of two per 100,000 people reported across the Asia-Pacific region in 2012, the closest year for which data was available.