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CRIME

Hostage drama ends with release of captives

UPDATE: A Bavarian hostage drama ended without fatalities on Monday, police said, after a nine-hour stand-off forced Chancellor Angela Merkel to cancel a campaign rally in the same town.

Hostage drama ends with release of captives
Photo: DPA. The man was taken away in an ambulance.

A police operation ended the confrontation leaving the 24-year-old hostage-taker slightly injured and his two remaining captives – including a woman he had been stalking – unharmed.

The man, a psychiatric patient who had carried either a real or imitation handgun, had entered the town hall of Ingolstadt north of Munich at around 9 am, initially taking four hostages.

Police and a psychiatrist kept negotiating with the man, whose only demand was a doner kebab, throughout the afternoon.

CLICK HERE for a photo gallery of the hostage drama

The man freed one female captive almost immediately, and a male hostage five hours later when he released the town’s deputy mayor, Sepp Misslbeck.

More than 200 police had cordoned off the historic town centre of Ingolstadt, where campaign posters still advertised Merkel’s cancelled campaign event ahead of September 22 national elections.

News came shortly before 6pm, after shots had been heard, that the drama had ended with the two remaining captives freed.

The hostage-taker, who police said was slightly wounded, was taken away in an ambulance, said the regional Donau Kurier daily in an online report.

“It’s a horrible situation,” town Mayor Alfred Lehrmann had said earlier. “The staff were deeply dismayed and didn’t know how to react… It’s a very bad day for Ingolstadt.”

Lehmann said the man had a history of violent assault and intimidation, adding that the term “stalker” seemed too harmless. The man was a former friend of the deputy mayor’s receptionist who had been barred from contacting her by a court order but approached her anyway, local media reported.

Police arrested him in mid-2012 and he was placed in psychiatric care. A trial that ended last month, with other unspecified charges, led to a suspended sentence of one year and eight months.

The man had already entered the town hall building earlier this month, which led to him being barred from the building, said the Bavarian interior minister, Joachim Herrmann.

Merkel had been due to speak at an afternoon rally of her conservative Christian Democratic Union outside the town hall, along with her political ally, Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer, who is also running for re-election next month.

The hostage drama was not believed to be related to the political event, said a police spokesman.

Merkel’s conservative party and its Bavarian sister party cancelled Monday’s appearance in Ingolstadt as well as a separate event in the city of Regensburg.

AFP/jcw

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CRIME

German jailed for life in double police murder

A German man was given a life sentence on Wednesday for shooting dead two police officers to escape being caught for illegal game hunting during a routine traffic check.

German jailed for life in double police murder

The regional court in Kaiserslautern found 39-year-old Andreas Schmitt guilty of the killings in January this year, which sent shockwaves across Germany.

His co-defendant, referred to by the court as Florian V., was found guilty of abetting illegal poaching.

The 33-year-old was in the car with Schmitt when the officers discovered dead game in the boot, investigators said.

“We are all to this day horrified that a supposed routine control could turn into a fatal incident,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement after the verdict.

READ ALSO: German prosecutors say poaching led to double police murder

The victims were a 24-year-old woman police officer still in training and her colleague, a 29-year-old man.

The young woman was killed by a single shot to the head, while the man was shot four times, investigators said.

The officers were able to report that they were checking a suspicious vehicle and that shots were being fired before radio contact broke off.

When backup arrived, the woman was already dead and the man fatally injured. The perpetrators had fled the scene.

The crime in the Kusel district of Rhineland-Palatinate state triggered a major manhunt, with police deploying helicopters and sniffer dogs, sealing off roads and warning local residents not to pick up hitchhikers.

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