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CRIME

Five dead after police hostage raid

Five people were left dead after a hostage-taking during a home eviction in southwestern Germany Wednesday, including the presumed gunman, police said.

Five dead after police hostage raid
Photo: DPA

Police said they found the bodies inside after storming the apartment in the city of Karlsruhe when they smelled something burning, several hours after a man barricaded himself and the hostages inside.

Authorities initially spoke of three or four dead but said they discovered the body of a fifth victim, a woman, presumed to be owner of the flat, during a search, a spokesman said.

Two of the other victims included a bailiff and a locksmith. Two further bodies have yet to be identified but are thought to include the hostage-taker.

“I am deeply shocked by the death of five people, including a bailiff of the Karlsruhe court working as a public servant for justice,” said Baden-W├╝rttemberg Justice Minister Rainer Stickelberger, offering his condolences to the families of the victims of this “incomprehensible deed.”

The minister promised that authorities would “investigate this horrible crime as quickly as possible.”

Residents of the building had raised the alarm with police at around 9am when shots were heard from the home of the hostage-taker who was about to be evicted.

The fifth-floor flat was at the top of an apartment building in a leafy, middle-class neighbourhood, a few kilometres north of the city centre.

Specially trained police were sent to the scene which had been sealed off.

Two schools and kindergartens are located nearby and several apartment blocks were evacuated, according to the local daily Badische Zeitung.

AFP/DAPD/bk

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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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