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CRIME

Two killed in shooting in western Germany

Two people were killed Thursday in a shooting in a west German town, with police saying the circumstances surrounding the incident remained unclear.

Two killed in shooting in western Germany
A policeman stands in front of the crime scene in Espelkamp. Photo: dpa | Lino Mirgeler

Police said they were informed shots had been fired in Espelkamp, in Germany’s most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia, on Thursday morning.

They found a 48-year-old man dead at the scene and a woman also died from severe injuries despite attempts to resuscitate her.

A 52-year-old man from the nearby town of Diepenau was arrested in the afternoon but the motive remains unclear, police said.

Gun laws were tightened in Germany after two school massacres in the eastern city of Erfurt in April 2002 and in the southwestern town of Winnenden in March 2009, both of which were also carried out with legal weapons.

The country, which has some of the strictest gun laws in Europe, now requires anyone younger than 25 to pass a psychiatric exam before applying for a gun licence.

Nine people were killed when gunman David Ali Sonboly went on a rampage in a shopping centre in Munich in 2016.

At least 35 people were also wounded during the attack, which began at a McDonald’s franchise and ended with the gunman turning his 9mm Glock pistol on himself.

The Munich assault sparked a debate about whether Germany’s strict gun laws should be tightened further.

Member comments

  1. Is it already clear if this happened through a legally detained weapon or not ?
    You stated circumstances are not clear. It seems too early to speculate on guns law, that is already one of the strictest in Europe.
    And, in case of people killing others by cars/trucks, are you suggesting driving license should be harder to get ?

  2. David Ali Sonboly didn’t got the gun legally. To restrict guns law have impact only on loyal people. It is just a political move, useless.

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CRIME

One injured in school shooting in Bremerhaven

One person was injured on Thursday when shots were fired in a school in the northern German city of Bremerhaven, police said, adding that they had arrested the suspected gunman.

One injured in school shooting in Bremerhaven

The shooting happened at the Lloyd Gymnasium school in the centre of Bremerhaven, a city on Germany’s North Sea coast, on Thursday morning. 

“The armed person has been arrested and is in police custody,” police said in a statement. The injured person was not a pupil, police said, adding that the person been taken to hospital.

“Students are in their classrooms with their teachers. The police have the situation on the ground under control,” the statement added.

Bremerhaven police tweeted that a large deployment was under way in the city centre and asked residents to avoid the Mayor-Martin-Donandt square and surrounding streets, in the vicinity of the Lloyd secondary school.

Local news site Nord24 said the person injured on Thursday was a woman who worked at the school.

They said a school pupil heard shots being fired and called the police. Pupils reportedly barricaded themselves in their classrooms.

Police launched a large-scale operation and cordoned off the area around the school while they carried out inquiries. 

Authorities set up a phone hotline for concerned parents. Many parents gathered in front of the school after being alerted by their children, local media reported. 

In a separate incident on Thursday, police in the eastern city of Leipzig said they had detained a 21-year-old student still at secondary school after being tipped off by Snapchat that he had posted pictures of himself with a gun and made unspecified threats.

The US social media platform alerted German authorities, prompting Leipzig police to take action.

 A police spokesman said that the 21-year-old did not pose a real threat, however, and only possessed an airsoft gun, a replica firearm that uses non-lethal, usually plastic, pellets.

‘Strict gun laws’

School shootings are relatively rare in Germany, a country with some of the strictest gun laws in Europe. But a recent spate has rattled the population.

Last week, investigators in Germany’s city of Essen said they foiled a school bomb assault, as they arrested a 16-year-old who is suspected to have been planning a “Nazi terror attack”.

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

In January, an 18-year-old student opened fire in a lecture hall at Heidelberg University in southwestern Germany, killing a young woman and
injuring three others before fleeing the scene and turning the weapon on himself.

In 2009, a former pupil killed nine students, three teachers and three passers-by in a school shooting at Winnenden, in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. The gunman then killed himself.

In 2002, a 19-year-old former student, apparently in revenge for having been expelled, shot dead 16 people including 12 teachers and two students at a school in the central German city of Erfurt. He too then killed himself.

The Winnenden and Erfurt massacres were carried out with legal weapons and spurred Germany to tighten gun laws.

The country currently requires anyone under 25 to pass a psychiatric exam before applying for a gun licence.

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