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Police claim self-defence after killing deranged man

DDP/The Local · 27 Dec 2009, 11:44

Published: 27 Dec 2009 11:44 GMT+01:00

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On Sunday police confirmed that the man, identified as Dirk P., had been killed.

Neighbours called his mother on Saturday afternoon after they heard him screaming and smashing furniture in his apartment in the Ohlsdorf district of Hamburg. His mother called the police after she was unable to calm him.

The police first attempted to enter using his mother's key, but finding the door barricaded, the officers broke it down and entered. According to police spokeswoman Ulrike Sweden, they were then attacked by the knife-wielding man in the hallway.

When the use of pepper-spray failed to stop him, one of the officers drew his gun and shot Dirk P. three times, hitting him twice in the upper body and once in the arm. Although an ambulance was already on hand, emergency workers were unable to save his life.

According to a report in the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper, Dirk P.'s mental illness was well-known. He had been undergoing treatment for several years and had a guardian.

Story continues below…

The police have claimed that he was shot in self-defence, but a murder inquiry has been opened to clarify why the officers did not retreat once the pepper-spray had proven ineffective or attempt to disarm him another way.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:08 December 27, 2009 by Victor Scicluna
Such incidents are always regrettable as loss of life is always hard, but before rushing to conclusions we need to try to put ourselves in the shoes of the acting police officer, clearly when all has settled down I can imagine quite a good number of people who would react negative to the shooting.

Disarm the guy, let him cool down and so on, yes from our sitting room couch its easy to come to such conclusions, The question is ... what would we have done if a man who is clearly out of control comes waving a knive at us?

Clearly the case needs to be studied but not to blame the police officer who at the end of the day did not want to be there but was called in as part of his/her duty.

We need to see if offficers need further training for such incidents and see if they can be better handled but it would be unfair for us to be couch potatoes passing judgement on such incidents.

I have been stopped by police at several occasions often at routine traffic controls and have always been handled politely and correctly .................... but then I did not go at them wielding some weapon.
16:24 December 27, 2009 by Edmond Schindler
And at the end of the day I bet Dirk's Mom wished she hadn't called them to assist either...
07:55 December 28, 2009 by ErickDDiaz
The Officers did everything correctly. Allowing him to retreat or calm down could allow him to get a deadlier weapon are hold unknown hostages. If pepper spray did not subdue him who knows what drug he may have been on?
17:52 December 29, 2009 by Frenemy
@Edmond Schindler:

...ain't that the damn truth!!

Icing on the cake = if the mom were to take legal action against the police (or the state)...
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