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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.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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