Bomber surrenders after overnight standoff

Bomber surrenders after overnight standoff
Photo: DPA
A man in Viernheim surrendered to police on Thursday morning after a tense overnight standoff after barricading himself in his apartment and injuring a family of four with a bomb the day before.

Some 500 police and emergency workers had surrounded his apartment throughout the night while special officers negotiated with the 44-year-old. He had threatened to set off more explosives in the city located not far from Mannheim.

But at 10 am on Thursday, the man emerged from the building with his hands held high as about one dozen police commandos slowly moved in to arrest him. A police spokesperson said the suspect is “under control.”

The man, identified as Jürgen K., allegedly set off an explosion around 6:00 am at a single-family home on Wednesday morning, fleeing into his nearby apartment wearing camouflage and a gas mask. From there he called police and threatened further explosions.

The family inside the bombed home 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 Wednesday-morning explosion in Weinheim, some five kilometres away in Baden-Württemberg, was also 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, police said that Jürgen K. was being evicted by his landlord after failing to pay rent for several months.

Police shut off natural gas lines and evacuated some 100 residents from surrounding buildings forcing them to spend the night with friends and family, or in accommodations provided by the state.

But many people living nearby posted themselves on their balconies to observe the uneasy yet quiet police operation until well after midnight, news agency DDP reported. Meanwhile volunteers sent out bowls of potato salad, sandwiches and coffee for emergency workers and journalists at the scene.

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