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Unemployed Man Kills Seven, Then Himself

May 12, 1987

PEPINGEN, Belgium (AP) _ An unemployed man shot seven people dead at two farms, wounded three others, and killed himself seven hours later when his car was stopped at a police checkpoint, police said.

The victims ranged in age from 3 to 90.

National Police spokesman Lodewijk De Bolle identified the killer as Michel Vanwijnendaele, 28.

De Bolle gave no motive for the attacks, but another police official said it was believed they involved a feud between farming families.

De Bolle gave this account:

The killings occurred at about 2 p.m. at neighboring farms in Bogaarden and Denderwindeke, two hamlets about 12 miles southwest of Brussels.

Four people were killed at one farm, all shot at close range with a .22- caliber rifle. The victims were the grandparents, 90 and 84; their daughter, 46; her husband, 53, and a 20-year-old grandson.

Another grandson, 24, was serously wounded when he arrived at the farm and tried to stop the killer.

Vanwijnendaele fled and the injured man went to a neighboring farm where he found the bodies of a 37-year-old woman and her 3-year-old daughter who had been shot. The injured man then went to a third farm where he called for help and collapsed.

Three hours after the killings, Vanwijnendaele shot and seriously wounded his father-in-law and the man’s mother in nearby Denderwindeke.

Vanwijnendaele was spotted by a policemen in Brugelette, about 15 miles from the place of the first shootings, as he was filling his car at a gasoline station.

He drove away and police, on a nationwide alert, pursued him. The killer drove 10 miles to Sirault near Mons, where several police cars blocked the road, and he killed himself with a shot in the head. That was at about 9 p.m.

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