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CRIME

Armed teen arrested after stand-off with police

Police arrested an armed 14-year-old boy Tuesday after he opened fire with at least one weapon at his school in southern Germany, authorities said.

Armed teen arrested after stand-off with police
Photo: DPA

The teenager, who was not immediately named, allegedly fired at least one shot at his school, then fired several more times after he was tracked down to a sports field in the Bavarian town of Memmingen near Munich.

Following a tense standoff with police, he surrendered to officers, a police spokesman said. No one was injured and he was eventually taken in for psychological evaluation.

Police said the shots fired at the sports field were not deliberately aimed at them, and at one point the boy reportedly threatened to take his own life.

Media reports also said he may have been involved in a dispute with a fellow pupil or a former girlfriend. An online news channel, n-tv, said the weapons belonged to the boy’s father.

The boy had earlier charged into his school with two weapons, firing at least one shot before fleeing. No one was injured in this incident either, police said.

After the alarm was raised, all 280 pupils were told via loudspeaker to remain in their classrooms while teachers closed off the rooms.

Police special units rushed to the school and, after a search, pupils were led outside, the spokesman said. All pupils were returned to their parents safe and sound.

On March 11, 2009, a masked 17-year-old named Tim Kretschmer burst into his former school and picked off nine fellow pupils and three teachers, mostly with expert execution-style shots to the head.

A further three people lost their lives in a dramatic chase and shootout with police before Kretschmer, cornered, turned the gun on himself.

It was the worst school shooting in Germany since April 2002, when 19-year-old Robert Steinhaeuser, a disgruntled student from Erfurt in eastern Germany who had been expelled, killed 16 people and then himself.

After the massacre in Winnenden, schools put into place special drills toprevent such incidents occurring again.

AFP/jcw

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CRIME

One injured in school shooting in Bremerhaven

A 21-year-old gunman opened fire at a secondary school in northern Germany on Thursday, badly injuring a female member of staff before being arrested, police said.

One injured in school shooting in Bremerhaven

The incident 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 woman was not a pupil, police said.

They said the suspect had entered the school building and fired at a female member of staff, who was “seriously injured”.

The alarm was quickly raised and police said they detained the suspect at a nearby location soon after and had seized his weapon at the scene.

The injured woman is being treated in hospital.

A video circulating on social media and German news sites appeared to capture the moment the gunman was arrested.

A man dressed in black is seen lying face down on a street corner, with a weapon next to him, before being handcuffed by officers.

But there was no immediate confirmation of reports the alleged weapon was a crossbow.

Bremerhaven police tweeted in the morning 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 a school pupil had heard shots being fired and called the police. Pupils barricaded themselves in their classrooms.

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

By mid-afternoon, police said special forces had completed their search and the last people had left the building.

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

Pupils and staff are receiving psychological counselling.

Local media said only around 200 people were on the school grounds, fewer than normal because of exam times.

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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