Two Shot Outside Kindergarten in Norway

An off-duty police officer in northern Norway shot and killed his ex-girlfriend with another officer's service pistol, then critically wounded himself Friday outside the elementary school where she was a student teacher, police said. No children were injured.

The shooting happened in the snowy parking lot between the Slettaelva elementary school and a kindergarten in Tromsoe, the main city in the Norwegian Arctic, police said. Photographs on the Web sites of major Norwegian news media showed a body covered in a tarpaulin in the snow.

Police initially said both victims had died, but Tromsoe Police Chief Truls Fyhn later corrected that information, saying the 53-year-old man was in "extremely critical condition" at a local hospital. He said the officer had more than 20 years' service with the police.

Fyhn told a news conference broadcast on national radio that the woman, who was in her early 40s, had been living with the police officer until they broke up last week. He said he could not release their names, pending notification of next of kin.

Norwegian police are normally unarmed, but can have access to weapons at their headquarters or in their car depending on their district, police said.

Tromsoe Police officer Annette Kjoerli said by telephone that the man had taken and used a pistol that was issued to another officer. She said she did not have details so she could not confirm reports in Norwegian news media that the officer stole the pistol from the police station weapons room.

Johan Martin Welhaven, deputy chief of the national unit for internal police investigations, said by telephone that Tromsoe police will investigate the case, since the shooting took place when the officer was off duty.

However, he said, the internal affairs unit would check to see how he obtained the service weapon.

Welhaven said he could not recall a similar case involving a Norwegian police officer.

Police said it was not clear how many children were nearby when the shooting occurred, but it was likely that at least some were in the vicinity. The shooting was reported to police at about 8:30 a.m.

Tromsoe is about 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle.