The Draučiai shooting
was a shooting spree that occurred in Draučiai, a small village in the
Širvintos District Municipality, Lithuania on February 15, 1998, when
58-year-old Leonardas Zavistonovičius, a local, killed nine people and
wounded another, before being beaten to death.
At approximately 4 p.m. on Sunday, Zavistonovičius
armed himself with a Russian hunting rifle IZH-12 and a Czech carbine
ZKK-601 with telescopic sight – both weapons were held legally with
permit renewed less than a year ago. Within the next half-hour, he went
to four houses where he killed nine of his neighbours and their
relatives, all of them with single shots to the head or chest.
Zavistonovičius first went to the most distant farm
from his house. Its owner, Jonas Bareikas, was shot and killed in his
bed. He also shot Bareikas' partner Marytė Rutkauskienė who at the time
was making broom stalls.
Afterwards, he approached Bareikas' neighbour Leonas
Garbatavičius, whom he shot dead at the front door of his house. His
next stop was at the Vrubliauskas farm, where he killed Vytautas
Vrubliauskas and wounded his mother Jadvyga and sister Zofija. Zofija
Vrubliauskaitė, who lived in Širvintos and came to visit the family on
the weekend, died the same night in Širvintos hospital while undergoing
surgery. Jadvyga Vrubliauskienė died a week later in Vilnius Red Cross
The perpetrator then moved to Raudeliūnas' home,
which was closest to his own house. The next victims were Vanda
Raudeliūnienė and her visiting daughter Dalia Kalibatienė, who was a
senior lieutenant with the Ministry of National Defence. The Kalibaitis
family lived in Salininkai near Vilnius and were visiting the family.
Zavistonovičius also killed a dog which attempted to defend the women.
He fetched a mattress from his own house so he would
not have to lay down on cold winter ground and took cover to ambush
Antanas Raudeliūnas, his son-in-law Mindaugas Kalibatas, and his
grandsons Vilius and Tadas. The men were gathering wood in a nearby
forest. They heard the shots but were not immediately concerned as they
thought it was hunters who frequented the forests.
When the four men came out of the woods,
Zavistonovičius first shot Mindaugas Kalibatas in the chest, but the
bullet grazed, ripping a piece of flesh but not causing more serious
internal damage. The perpetrator then shot Vilius as he ran to help his
father. When the gunman approached them, Kalibatas and his other son
Tadas attacked him, grabbed his rifles and beat him until he collapsed.
Since no one in the village had phones, Mindaugas
Kalibatas drove himself and his son Vilius to hospital in Širvintos
located about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) away; however, Vilius died en
route, The hospital alerted the police and sent ambulances to the
village. Zofija Vrubliauskaitė and Jadvyga Vrubliauskienė were found
still alive. Zavistonovičius was taken in custody and died around 10
p.m. in hospital (cause of death: fracture in base of skull).
Only two inhabitants of the village were left alive,
Antanas Raudeliūnas and Zavistonovičius' mother Juzefa.
Jonas Bareikas, 40
Marytė Rutkauskienė, partner of Jonas Bareikas
Leonas Garbatavičius, 58
Dalia Kalibatienė, 48
Vilius Kalibatas, 17, son of Dalia Kalibatienė
Vanda Raudeliūnienė, 66, mother of Dalia Kalibatienė
Jadvyga Vrubliauskienė, 76
Vytautas Vrubliauskas, 38, son of Jadvyga Vrubliauskienė
Zofija Vrubliauskaitė, 42, daughter of Jadvyga Vrubliauskienė
The Lithuanian government reacted at the highest
levels as it was afraid that the shooting spree was politically
motivated and might provoke further violence. It occurred on the eve of
the 80th anniversary of the Act of Independence of Lithuania.
Zavistonovičius was a member of the Polish minority in Lithuania, which
continues to have strained relationship with the Lithuanian government,
while his victims were Lithuanian.
Prime Minister Gediminas Vagnorius assembled a
special commission to investigate the circumstances of the crime while
press secretary of the Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas failed
to convince the media to delay the news until Polish President
Aleksander Kwaśniewski departed the celebrations in Vilnius.
Minister of the Interior Vidmantas Žiemelis was sent
to deliver government condolences in person. The government paid for the
funerals of the victims. The funeral of Kalibatis family in Salininkai
was attended by many dignitaries, including Minister of National Defence
Česlovas Stankevičius, members of the Seimas, and officers of the
The results of the investigation were that the
shooting spree was caused by a mental illness (chronic delusions similar
to schizophrenia), and not a political agenda. Zavistonovičius held a
gun for hunting since 1975. The permits were periodically renewed.
As part of the renewal process, Zavistonovičius had
to pass an examination by a psychiatrist. None of the psychiatrists who
examined Zavistonovičius noticed anything suspicious, a fact which
caused much controversy. During the investigation it was uncovered that
in 1985, Zavistonovičius had been referred to and examined by the
Vilnius Psychiatric Hospital.
Zavistonovičius was married three times. The third
wife separated from him just ten months before the shooting and
described his morbid jealousy and persecutory delusions, even though
neighbors saw him as an intelligent and helpful man. Relatives had begun
noticing various symptoms since 1978, which may have been related to a
car crash in 1976.
In light of these findings, the prosecutor's office
explored a possibility of charging with negligence the seven doctors who
signed off on Zavistonovičius' gun permit. However, it was determined
that the doctors were not negligent: without a centralized database,
they could not know that Zavistonovičius was treated at a psychiatric
hospital, and in public his symptoms were masked and controlled well
enough to pass the brief examination without suspicion.
Lithuanian gunman goes on killing
The Washington Post
February 17, 1998
A gunman went on a house-to-house killing spree and
shot dead eight neighbors before being beaten to death by survivors in a
small village in Lithuania, police said.
The dead, aged between 17 and
65, were four men and four women.
"It seemed that he wanted to kill everyone in the
village," a police spokesman said of the massacre in Drauchiu in
the Shirvintos region.
Police identified the gunman as Leonard
Zavistanovich, 58, and said his motive was not known.