Woman ‘shot to death’ in north Germany under cover of firework show

Prosecutors have opened a murder investigation after a young mother was believed to be killed by a gunshot to the head near the north German town of Kiel while watching a firework show at New Year.

Woman 'shot to death' in north Germany under cover of firework show
The aftermath of New Year's firework celebrations in Hanover. Photo: DPA

Nina D., a 39-year-old mother of three, has died in hospital after being shot in the head in the early hours of January 1st, prosecutors in Kiel, Schleswig Holstein, said on Thursday.

Initially investigators believed that the metal that struck the young woman in the head was from an illegal firework, but the coroner’s report concluded that she had been struck by a bullet of an unknown calibre.

“After the autopsy, we assume with a high probability that the woman was killed by a gunshot wound,” Birgit Heß, senior public prosecutor in Kiel told Bild newspaper.

Nina D. had stepped out of her house in the district of Schönberg, just outside Kiel, with her husband and young daughter to watch the New Year’s firework display. But she collapsed several minutes later after being struck by a metal projectile.

Police are currently questioning people from the neighbourhood to try and ascertain who was on the street at the time.

This is the second time in consecutive years that someone has been shot during New Year’s celebrations when firework displays create a cacophony of noise in the streets of German cities.

Last year an elderly man shot and seriously wounded a 12-year-old girl while she was watching a firework show in Salzgitter The man was sentenced to a nine months in prison for the shooting, which he blamed on over-consumption of alcohol.

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German police foil teenage school ‘Nazi attack’

German investigators said Thursday they foiled a school bomb attack, as they arrested a 16-year-old who is suspected to have been planning a "Nazi terror attack".

German police foil teenage school 'Nazi attack'

“The police prevented a nightmare,” said Herbert Reul, interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state.

Police in the city of Essen had stormed the teen’s room overnight, taking him into custody and uncovering 16 “pipe bombs”, as well as anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim material.

Some of the pipe bombs found contained nails, but officers did not find any detonators, Reul said.

There are “indications suggesting the young man has serious psychiatric problems and suicidal thoughts,” said Reul.

Material found so far in the suspect’s room include his own writing which constituted “a call for urgent help by a desperate young man.”

The suspect was allegedly planning to target his current school or another where he studied previously.

“All democrats have a common task to fight against racism, brutalisation and hate,” said NRW’s deputy premier Joachim Stamp, as he thanked police for “preventing a suspected Nazi terror attack”.

The suspect is being questioned while investigators continue to comb his home for evidence.

Investigators believe that he was acting alone.

They had been tipped off by another teen who informed them that the young man “wanted to place bombs in his school”, located about 800 metres from his home.

The school, as well as another institution, were closed on Thursday as investigators undertook fingertip searches as the locations to ensure that no bombs had been placed on site.

‘Neo-Nazi networks’ 

Germany has been rocked by several far-right assaults in recent years, sparking accusations that the government was not doing enough to stamp out neo-Nazi violence.

In February 2020 a far-right extremist shot dead 10 people and wounded five others in the central German city of Hanau.

Large amounts of material championing conspiracy theories and far-right ideology were subsequently found in the gunman’s apartment.

And in 2019, two people were killed after a neo-Nazi tried to storm a synagogue in Halle on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

Germany’s centre-left-led government under Chancellor Olaf Scholz took office in December pledging a decisive fight against far-right militants and investigators in April carried out country-wide raids against “neo-Nazi networks”, arresting four suspects.

The suspects targeted in the raids were believed to belong to the far-right martial arts group Knockout 51, the banned Combat 18 group named after theorder in the alphabet of Adolf Hitler’s initials, US-based Atomwaffen (Atomic) Division or the online propaganda group Sonderkommando 1418.

German authorities were also battling to clean extremists from within their ranks. Last year, the state of Hesse said it was dissolving Frankfurt’s elite police force after several officers were accused of participating in far-right online chats and swapping neo-Nazi symbols.