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CRIME

Pensioner kills three in shooting rampage

A German pensioner who went on a shooting rampage that left three people dead did so in order to teach people "not to mess" with him or his family, police said on Wednesday.

Pensioner kills three in shooting rampage
Photo: DPA

The 71-year-old shot dead on Tuesday two lawyers, 38 and 70, and a surveyor, 48, who had come to discuss the sale of a house in the town of Schwalmtal as part of a divorce settlement between the gunman’s daughter and her ex-husband.

“According to the suspect’s statement, he loaded his pistol with seven bullets, reloaded it and then shot the victims again. This was, he says, to make sure that they were dead,” Düsseldorf police chief Jürgen Schneider said.

“According to his statement, he wanted to punish the people who were delaying this whole affair … He wanted to make clear to people not to mess with him and his family,” Schneider told a news conference.

Hundreds of police including masked commandos surrounded the house, and after three hours he surrendered by waving his white shirt at an upstairs window.

A second surveyor, a 40-year-old woman, was shot twice but survived. She was in a stable condition in hospital on Wednesday, and well enough to give a statement to investigators, Schneider said. The pensioner’s daughter, 44, and two other people also in the house were unharmed.

Pictures showed the grey-haired pensioner being taken to a police van by masked commandos with his hands behind his back. The Bild newspaper reported that the man had been on trial in 2006 for attacking two people with a baseball bat.

The shooting brought back memories of the bloodbath unleashed by 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer, who shot dead nine pupils and three teachers at his old school, as well as three bystanders in and around the town of Winnenden in March.

Peter Aldenhoff from the public prosecutors office said he expected the man to be remanded in custody later on Wednesday and charged with murder, although this might be delayed because of his health as he is a diabetic.

“I think it was meant to be me,” 44-year-old Hubert K., who had recently divorced from the pensioner’s daughter, told rolling news channel NTV. “He didn’t want me to get anything (from the sale of the house), from my property, which was mine.”

“He hated us because my dad split up with my mum,” the pensioner’s grandson Christian, 18, told Bild. “He wanted at all costs to prevent the house being auctioned. I believe the attack was meant for me and my father.”

The pensioner stuck his tongue out at his wife’s ex-husband and his grandson as he was whisked away by police, Bild said.

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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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