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CRIME

Pensioner opens fire at local doctor’s practice

A pensioner shot dead two doctors in their western German practice on Monday evening, before shooting himself.

Pensioner opens fire at local doctor's practice
Photo: DPA

The 78-year-old from Weilerbach, Rhineland-Palatinate, entered the village’s central surgery and opened fire on two doctors, aged 63 and 48. A 60-year-old assistant was also shot, but survived.

The pair were uncle and nephew, the pensioner was a patient at their clinic, a place the local mayor Horst Bonhagen described as an “institution” in the sleepy village.

Before the emergency services could arrive, the man fled the scene on his moped – firing shots at passersby and injuring a policeman. But shortly after he arrived home, his house was surrounded and stormed by armed police.

The unnamed pensioner was found dead inside, killed by the same gun he had used to shoot his doctors.

“The people of Weilerbach are distraught and in shock,” said Bonhagen.

Police are unsure of the motive behind the man’s motives. All that is known is that he was a patient at the clinic and very unwell, but the 4,600-inhabitant village is awash with rumours.

“He was an old, strange man,” said a neighbour. “He had argued with everyone and just wanted to be left alone.”

General opinion seemed to be, however, that the pensioner has shown no previous signs of violence.

Weilerbach is near the Ramstein US air base, where soldiers have been put on alert in case of a further incident.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/jcw

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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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