Puerto Rico cop shoots dead three colleagues

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A policeman in Puerto Rico shot dead three of his colleagues on Monday (Dec 28) before being taken into custody, authorities in the US territory said.

The incident took place at the police headquarters in the island's southern coastal city of Ponce, police said on Twitter, without indicating any possible motive.

"There are no words to describe this tragedy," said associate police superintendent Juan Rodriguez Davila, who headed to the scene.

The victims were a police commander, a lieutenant and an officer. Two of the dead were women.

The Caribbean island, a US commonwealth currently in the throes of a major debt crisis, is also crime-ridden, though the number of murders has fallen since 2011.

Authorities had launched a "No Bullets" campaign during the Christmas holiday season. Some residents celebrate the New Year by firing weapons into the air, which is illegal.