The 45-year-old man had been part of a group which had become embroiled in a fight with another group during Thursday’s holiday known as Herren Tag, or Men’s Day. The day off is often used as an excuse for groups of male friends to stagger around drinking as much as they can, towing their booze behind them in a little wagon.
One of the two groups which confronted each other in Rostock was carrying drinks in a supermarket trolley while the other had a handcart. The men had become involved in an argument and then a fist fight about which was better, said Klaus Müller, state prosecutor in Rostock, at a press conference on Friday.
The fighting was actually over when one of the drunken men delivered another hit to the 45-year-old, causing him to hit his head against a train, said Müller.
“The fight is clear to see on the video,” he said, referring to the security video recovered from the Warnemünde local train station’s cameras.
Three men aged 23, 24 and 29 fled the scene and hid in a shop nearby before being arrested just a few hours later. They were so drunk at the time that they could only be questioned on Friday once they had sobered up.
Two more men from that group are being sought by officers investigating the man’s death.
The dead man, who has not yet been identified, was initially resuscitated and was thought to be out of danger.
But during the trip to hospital the man’s condition suddenly and dramatically worsened so much that he died by the time he got there.
The German police union (DPolG) called for a more consistent approach to violent, often drunk criminals. Judges pull back from imposing the harshest sentences on those who can say they were very drunk when attacking someone, said the union's deputy chairman Joachim Lenders.
"A changed social awareness is necessary," DPolG chairman Rainer Wendt said on television station n-tv. "Whoever, through such violent actions risks the life of another, or ignores the danger of that risk, must realise that he must spend a number of years behind bars for it - even drunken people understand this."