Police spokesman Thomas Geithner confirmed that the woman was still in the building when she died of her injuries. "The man attacked the woman with a knife in the courtroom," Geithner said, adding that a policeman had fired a shot in the ensuing struggle.
All the background details are not known yet, but a spokesman for the state prosecutor said that the incident, which occurred shortly before 10:30 am, happened during an appeal hearing in a libel case. The defendant had been convicted and fined for libel last year.
Bettina Garmann, a spokesman for the court, said that there had been no reason to believe that special safety procedures would be necessary for the case.
The incident recalled a similar scene of courtroom violence in the Bavarian town of Landshut in April, when a 60-year-old man shot his sister-in-law before turning the gun on himself, following an inheritance ruling.