Austrian police have issued an international arrest warrant for the suspected shooter, 24-year-old Ardian J., who they believe fled the country after the murder.
The 30-year-old man told police he was not Ardian’s brother, as newspapers had reported, but simply an acquaintance.
He said he had fled the scene of the shooting in the Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus district on Sunday as he was afraid, and had spent several nights sleeping rough in parks before he was able to contact his lawyer who had been on vacation.
The man, also a Kosovo Albanian, owns a construction company and lives in Vienna. After being questioned by police he has since been released.
Witnesses saw four Kosovo Albanian men arguing on a 49 tram on Sunday evening. As two of the men (brothers) left the tram Ardian J. shot at them, killing one and seriously injuring his 25-year-old brother. A 19-year-old woman who had no connection to the men was hit in the leg by a stray bullet.
The injured brother told police that the shooting was an act of revenge in an ongoing “family feud”, but the 30-year-old said he just happened to bump into Ardian on the tram, who he knows through business, and had no idea why he had shot at the two men.
The man’s lawyer, Timo Gerersdorfer, said that his client “had no idea such a thing was going to happen”.
He told police that video surveillance footage from the tram showed that his client had tried to calm the three men down, and told them that they should all leave the tram and stop disturbing the other passengers.
Gerersdorfer said he was completely taken aback by the gun shots, which sparked traumatic memories of the former war in Yugoslavia, causing him to flee in panic.
The alleged shooter is on the run and according to a report in the Kurier newspaper even his brother and his children have gone underground.
Police believe he is hiding in the mountains in Kosovo. Kosovan police said he already has a criminal record and is believed to have shot two people in his homeland.