Bus shooter: ‘My friends made fun of me’

The Attorney General has ordered the detention of a company bus driver who reportedly killed six employees of construction firm Arab Contractors and injured another six in a shooting spree on Tuesday.

“My neighbors were digging for antiquities under my house, threatening it with collapse,” the shooter, 54-year-old Mahmoud Sweilam, who had worked for the company for 25 years, was quoted as saying. “When I told them about it, my colleagues made fun of me–so I shot them in revenge.”

Sweilam has been charged with premeditated murder and possession of an automatic weapon and live ammunition. He said he had acquired the weapon from a policeman in his neighborhood.

“I hid the gun under my seat,” Sweilam confessed to authorities. “Before arriving at the company, I asked a man named Ahmed Idris about another man named Abdel Fattah, who I think is involved in the digging [under his house]. He told me he wasn’t among the passengers. But when I saw Abdel Fattah sitting there, I pulled the gun out, killed both men, and continued to shoot at the rest.”

“I didn’t hear the sound of the bullets firing or the cries of the passengers,” he added, saying that he afterwards drove to company headquarters where he reported that his bus had been shot at by unknown assailants.

Prosecutors have requested forensic and autopsy reports in order to match up the shell casings found at the scene of the crime and determine the cause of the victims’ death.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that Sweilam had agreed with five of his friends to dig under his house in search of treasure. His family had expressed fear that the house would collapse and reported the digging to police, who later searched the house and found a 15-meter-deep hole.

Arab Contractors Chairman Ibrahim Mahlab, meanwhile, visited the injured in hospital on Wednesday. He said that the company would pay LE100,000 to the families of each employee killed in the incident and LE20,000 to each person injured.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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