Bullet found in man’s head years after drunken New Year’s Eve

A 35-year-old man in North Rhine-Westphalia has lived for the past several years unaware a bullet became lodged in his head one drunken New Year's Eve, police told The Local on Tuesday.

Bullet found in man's head years after drunken New Year's Eve
Photo: Polizeipräsidium Bochum

The Polish construction worker in Herne doesn’t quite remember whether it was in 2004 or 2005, but he does recall feeling a forceful blow to the back of his head around midnight as he celebrated in the city centre, said Bochum police spokesman Volker Schütte.

He recently noticed a cyst on his head and went to the Herne hospital, where X-rays revealed the culprit – a 22-calibre bullet lodged in his scalp.

“He must really have a strong constitution,” said Schütte, who spoke with the patient while he recovered in the hospital following an operation on Friday. “He was of course intoxicated at the time he felt the blow. It was New Year’s Eve so naturally he’d had a bit more than usual to drink.”

Doctors informed police in the Ruhr Valley city immediately, and they are now searching for the shooter, who faces charges of negligent bodily harm.

Investigators believe that someone likely rang in the New Year with a shot, unintentionally hitting the man.

“The key, and this is obviously important and good for this man, is that the power behind the bullet was low,” Schütte told The Local. “Otherwise he would have sustained much more severe injuries.”

While investigators believe their chances of finding the New Year’s Eve shooter are low, the case could serve as an example to future revellers.

“Our next pre-New Year’s Eve safety campaign will now have an argument for telling people to leave their pistols in the gun safe because they’ll see what kind of damage can be done,” Schütte said.

The patient is expected to recover fully and will be released from the hospital in the coming days.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.