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CRIME

Hamburg homeowner shoots intruder dead

A Hamburg homeowner shot dead a masked man who broke into his house on Tuesday night. It was the third such fatal incident to have taken place in the last half year.

Hamburg homeowner shoots intruder dead
Police at the scene of the crime outside the house: Photo: DPA

A homeowner in Jenfeld, a district of Hamburg, took the law into his own hands late on Tuesday night, as two suspected burglars broke into his house.

According to police reports, the two men rang the doorbell of the detached house at around 11pm and asked the 63-year-old resident “whether there had just been an ambulance here”.

When the man said no, the pair initially left, but 15 minutes later they returned. This time the man opened his door on the chain for security, but the intruders tried to force their way in.

One of the unwanted invaders managed to get into the hallway, and he was then shot by the homeowner.

The wounded burglar staggered away from the scene and collapsed from his injury at a junction about 200 metres from the house. His accomplice managed to flee and is still on the run from police.

Forensic teams looking for prints at the scene. Photo: DPA

Paramedics arrived and tried to save the wounded intruder, but were unable to prevent him from succumbing to his injuries.

After calling the police himself, the homeowner was taken in for questioning. Once he had been interrogated, and his criminal record had been checked, he was released.

The Hamburg prosecution office saw no reason to issue an arrest warrant at this time.

Not a one-off

A very similar case a few weeks ago in Hannover ended in the death of an 18-year-old intruder. On this occasion it was a man defending his property from a group of three burglars, one of whom was armed.

The 40-year-old workshop owner shot the 18-year-old burglar, who later died from his injuries in hospital. 

A police spokesman said that the shooter had a license for his weapon and that he is now under investigation for suspected manslaughter.

In December 2014, during a robbery of a jeweler's in Moers, western Germany, one of three burglars was shot dead by the shop owner.

In 2011, a pensioner in Sittensen, northern Germany, was given a suspended sentence for shooting a 16-year-old, who was fleeing after having robbed his house. The defence and the public prosecutors have since filed a revision.

Gun laws are generally strict in Germany, as licenses to own a firearm are only given when it is deemed “necessary”, for example to competitive shooters, hunters and firearm collectors or experts.

Even with one of these permits, heavier firearms, such as automatic firearms and pump-action shotguns, are prohibited.

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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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