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Rare shooting by Chinese official acting out of revenge say police

BEIJING (Reuters) - A rare shooting rampage in China's southwest Sichuan province was carried out by a revengeful and panicked official who was under investigation, state media said.

Chen Zhongshu, head of the Panzhihua city's land and resources bureau, burst into a meeting of top city leaders on Jan. 4 and opened fire, injuring two, before fleeing and committing suicide, state media reported at the time.

An investigation into the incident found "sufficient evidence to conclude that Chen became hateful of an investigation against him and panicked," Sichuan provincial police said in a statement, according to the official Xinhua news agency late on Sunday.

He committed the shooting out of "revenge", the police said.

A bribery case in October 2016 implicated Chen on charges of receiving expensive gifts and he was also under investigation under suspicion of "severe violations of law and Party discipline", Xinhua said, using a common euphemism for corruption.

His "dossier" had been handed to the local discipline inspection commission, the ruling Communist Party's graft watchdog.

Chinese President Xi Jinping waged a four-year war on graft, pledging to fight until officials "dare not, cannot and don't want to" be corrupt, stating that the battle is a matter of life and death for the Party.

Gun violence is rare in China, where controls on purchasing and firing guns are strict, meaning that very few private individuals own their own weapons.

At least two Chinese police officials in the northern region of Inner Mongolia have in recent years been charged with illegal possession of weapons alongside bribery, murder and other crimes.

Chinese officials must get used to regularly "blushing red and sweating" in the country's fight against corruption, China's top graft buster, Wang Qishan, said in a yearly work report last week, adding that they must accept being held to account, no matter how stressful.

(Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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