Police Tried to Take Weapon, Judge Refused

Police wanted bank shooter to hand in his weapon two years ago over suspicions of threats, violence.

Maayana Miskin ,

Hostage evacuated at bank
Hostage evacuated at bank
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Police wanted bank shooter Itamar Alon to hand in his personal weapon two years ago, according to media reports. On Monday, Alon entered a bank in Be’er Sheva and murdered four people shortly after the bank refused to extend his line of credit.

Two years ago, Alon became involved in a dispute with his neighbors. Neighbors complained that he was violent and that they were afraid he would hurt them.

An investigation led to suspicions that Alon was violent toward his elderly parents, as well.

Police sought to have Alon lose his right to bear a weapon due to the concerns, but the judge involved in the case accepted Alon’s appeal and allowed him to keep his gun.

Alon committed suicide following the murders. One MK attributed his actions to “economic terrorism” resulting from economic distress. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed shock at the tragedy, which he noted is highly unusual for Israel.

The victims have been identified as Bank Manager Avner Cohen, 44, deputy director Meir Zeitoun, 40, Anat Even-Chaim, 34, and Idan Shnitzer-Sabari, 22. Zeitoun is survived by his wife and three children; his friends and family were planning a surprise party for his 40th birthday. Even-Chaim is survived by three young children. Sabari was at the bank to open his first account.