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CRIME

Retiree shoots rifle at snowball pranksters

What would usually be a bit of innocent winter fun turned ugly over the weekend when an elderly man opened fire on two men with an air rifle after they threw snowballs at his apartment window in Werdohl, police in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia said on Tuesday.

Retiree shoots rifle at snowball pranksters
Lesson 1: Don't throw stuff at old people. Photo: DPA

“Those things aren’t harmless and can cause substantial injuries when fired from close range,” officer Michael Bechatzek told The Local. “But he claimed he just wanted to threaten them and therefore didn’t really aim properly,” he added.

The 19 and 21-years-old pranksters didn’t stop their snowball barrage even after the 75-year-old retiree fired the rifle twice. Instead, one of the men charged the sharp shooter in an attempt to take the weapon.

“He probably thought, hang on the grandpa is going to charge the rifle again, and used the time he needed to do so to run up and disarm him,” Bechatzek said. “Cocking those weapons takes quite a long time as you have to bend the barrel down to do that,” he added.

But the old man fought the young man off, hitting him in the face with the rifle. The 19-year-old finally managed to grab the rifle and run home, where he nursed his bruised cheek and called police, the officer said.

Apparently the young men were already acquainted with the retiree, who lives near their home in the small city.

The trigger-happy retiree’s gun has been confiscated and he now faces charges for violation of Germany’s weapons laws.

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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