Manhunt on for police officer’s killer

UPDATE: An off-duty police officer was shot dead in a street in western Germany on Wednesday night, prompting a large-scale manhunt for the culprit.

Manhunt on for police officer's killer
Police searching the area on Thursday morning have released an e-fit of the suspect. Photo: DPA/Polizei Hessen

The 50-year-old officer was shot on a rural country road in the Groß-Gerau region, south-west of Frankfurt am Main, on Wednesday evening.

He died of his injuries on Ulmenstraße in Bischofsheim, police in Darmstadt said in a statement released in the early hours of Thursday.

A large scale manhunt is now underway for the killer, who was able to flee the crime scene. 

The suspect was last seen heading towards the town centre after the shooting at around 7.30pm.

Police said on Thursday morning they had no further leads as to the fugitive's whereabouts, but were searching for a man aged between 50 and 60.

An e-fit of the man has been released based on eyewitness accounts. He was wearing a grey baseball hat and a light coloured top.

His hair was described as "greying" and he had a "three-day-old" beard.

The dead policeman, who had worked the southern Hesse region, had lived not far from the scene of the crime and had been off duty on Wednesday, a Darmstadt public prosecutor spokeswoman told the Frankfurter Rundschau. 

There was no indication yet of a clear motive for the crime and investigators were looking into the victim's private and professional background for possible leads, she said.

Since releasing the e-fit, the police had received several tip-offs from the public, but had not yet got onto the man's trail. Police said he could still be armed. 

"We're appalled by the murder of our colleague in southern Hesse and are stunned by this cruel, cowardly and senseless act," said Heini Schmidt, head of the regional chapter of the DPolG police union.

"We hope that the brutal murderer will be caught very soon and given his just punishment, even though this can be of no comfort and will not bring our colleague back." 

SEE ALSO: Husband and wife killed in Lübeck shooting

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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.