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TRAGEDY IN WINNENDEN

CRIME

Police probe gunman’s internet threat

German police said late on Thursday they were probing whether a supposed internet threat from the teenager who went on a deadly rampage at his old school this week might be fake.

Police probe gunman's internet threat
Photo: DPA

The spokesman for Waiblingen police said they found no trace of the message announcing the 17-year-old’s intentions to carry out Wednesday’s massacre on his computer. The discussion forum involved has also said that the message never existed.

Heribert Rech, interior minister of Baden-Württemberg, read the internet message aloud at a press conference earlier on Thursday.

“Shit, I’ve had enough, I am sick of this crappy life,” Tim Kretschmer allegedly wrote in a chat room only hours before he went to his old school and shot dead nine students and three teachers. “I might get out alive, but you will certainly hear about me tomorrow. Remember the name Winnenden.”

The remarks, said to be part of a conversation with another 17-year-old from Bavaria who told his father about it after the shooting, were made at 2:45 am, said Rech.

Less than seven hours later, at around 9:30 am, Kretschmer entered the school in Winnenden near Stuttgart, armed with a handgun taken from his father’s bedroom and more than 200 rounds of ammunition.

He eventually shot dead 15 people and died himself after a manhunt ended in a shootout. State police chief Erwin Hetger said he had turned the gun on himself.

German authorities are now working with the US internet company that hosts the online forum’s servers to find out whether Kretschmer made the threat beforehand or not.

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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