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CRIME

Man barricades himself after injuring family with blast

A man barricaded himself inside his apartment in Viernheim near Mannheim on Wednesday after igniting explosives that injured a family of four. Police believe he may have been involved in another blast in a neighbouring town.

Man barricades himself after injuring family with blast
Photo: DPA

After setting off an explosion around 6:00 am at a single-family home, the man fled into his nearby apartment wearing camouflage and a gas mask. From there he called police and threatened further explosions. Officers in the Hessian town of Viernheim have secured the area around the building.

The family sustained minor injuries when the parents were forced to break a window and escape with their seven and nine-year-old children, both of whom suffered from shock after the blast, police said.

Investigators believe that another early-morning explosion in Weinheim, some five kilometres away in Baden-Württemberg, may have also been set off by the man. According to a police spokesperson, the blast involved a hand grenade, though no one was injured.

While his motive remains unclear, news agency DDP reported that the man was being evicted by his landlord after failing to pay rent for several months.

Meanwhile one of the man’s neighbours told reporters that the man had been experimenting with explosives in his parents’ garden for years and often wore military clothing.

Police assume the man is armed, but does not have any hostages. They remain in telephone contact and special commandos have gained access to the building.

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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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