Armed man sighted near Berlin school yard

Police scoured a school and surrounding buildings after witnesses reported seeing an armed man around the school's grounds Monday morning, authorities announced.

Armed man sighted near Berlin school yard
Photo: DPA

Despite the thorough search, police failed to find the man.

A father dropping his child off at a day care centre neighbouring the Marzahn-district school alerted police around 9 am after seeing a man with what appeared to be a weapon, a spokesperson said.

A worker from the school also reported seeing an unidentified man with a weapon. The suspect was believed to be about 25-years-old.

Special police forces and a helicopter were deployed to search the school facilities, along with a nearby youth club and day care centre. Classrooms were sealed off during the search. Meanwhile many concerned parents decided to pick their children up early.

“We’re taking the situation very seriously,” the police spokesperson said.

But after more than two hours of searching, police gave an all-clear signal.

“He’s not in the area,” a spokesperson said.

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Blaze-hit section of Berlin’s Grunewald forest to ‘remain shut for years’

The closure in Berlin Grunewald, where a disastrous fire spread earlier this month, is due to exploded munition remnants littering the forest floor.

Blaze-hit section of Berlin’s Grunewald forest to 'remain shut for years'

Two weeks since a devastating fire ravaged part of Berlin’s Grunewald forest, the head of the city’s forests division says the burned out section will have to shut for the next few years.

At 3,000 hectares (about 7,400 acres), Grunewald is the largest green space in Berlin and located on the city’s western edge. The forest – which is nicknamed the ‘green lung’ of Berlin – is a popular area for hiking, biking, and swimming in its lakes.

The forest’s southern half also contains Sprengplatz, an area set up in 1950 to collect and detonate leftover munitions from WWII, particularly those left by allied bombing raids of the then-Nazi capital.

The fire, which broke out at Sprengplatz, scattered detonated many pieces of leftover munitions all over the surrounding forest floor.

READ ALSO: ‘Unprecedented’: How explosions and fires have rocked Berlin’s Grunewald forest

Berlin Forests says the police will be detonating larger explosives in the coming weeks, but that it will take much longer to search for and safely dispose of smaller pieces.

“It’s very time-consuming work and it will take years to collect everything,” Berlin Forests Head Gunnar Heyne told regional broadcaster rbb. “The forest will remain closed for at least that long.”

Heyne is confident though, that the forest itself will recover well quickly, particularly its oak and poplar trees.

While the area around Sprengplatz will remain shut, much of the rest of the forest, including the path to Grunewald’s popular Teufelsee—or “Devil’s Lake,” remain open.

READ ALSO: Firefighters bring Berlin forest fire under control after munitions explosion