03/12/2013 08:09 GMT

Iceland's Police Kill Man For The First Time, Ever

Icelandic police have shot dead a man, for the first time in the country's history, after they found him firing a shotgun inside his flat.

Crime and violence are exceptionally low in Iceland, which has a population of just 322,000. Police raided the apartment in east Reykjavik after tear gas canisters failed to deter the 59-year-old man.

Police had originally attempted to negotiate with the suspect, but he failed to respond.

Police officers park at a house where a man was shot dead by poilce in Reykjaiík

Around 20 officers, including special forces, took part in the operation, with two injured in the ensuing fire.

Icelandic police chief Haraldur Johannessen told reporters at a press conference on Monday that it was "without precedent" and that the police "regret this incident and would like to extend their condolences to the family of the man."

According to the 2011 Global Study on Homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Iceland's homicide rate between 1999-2009 was never above 1.8 per 100,000 population, compared to over 5 in the US.

But it is 15th in the world for the number of guns owned by its citizens.