Teenage gunman kills 15 in south-west Germany

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A 17 year old gunman has killed 15 in the towns of Winnenden and Wendlingen, near Stuttgart in southwest Germany, before being killed himself in a shootout with police.

Dressed in what has been described as black combat gear, the gunman entered Albertville school at 9.30am on March 11 2009 and, beginning with a particular classroom, started shooting at pupils and staff wandering through various 9th and 10th grade classrooms, reloading his handgun a number of times as he did so in a two minute shooting spree.

Reportedly aiming at the heads of his victims the gunman, identified as former pupil Tim Kretschmer, initially killed nine pupils, all except one being female, and three female teachers, one of whom was still a trainee who started only 4 weeks earlier. A further seven female students were injured. There are conflicting reports if a tenth student died from injuries later. Other students were injured as they attempted to escape by jumping out of windows.

Police received a call within three minutes at 9:33 a.m. the police entered the school at 9:40 a.m. to discover the bodies of the slain victims. A pupil managed to call for help using a mobile phone, and the headmaster apparently gave an early warning via the intercom so that some of the teachers were able to lock the doors to their classrooms from the inside, probably preventing more killings. From the first floor of the school, Kretschmer fired at the first police who arrived on the scene.

Kretschmer fled the school as further police arrived, and killed a gardener in a nearby clinic as he did so.

As the police evacuated the 1,000 pupil secondary school, Kretschmer, hijacked a Volkswagen Sharan and forced the driver to drive him south. Slowed by a traffic jam Kretschmer forced the driver to drive towards Wendlingen.

A police checkpoint was not able to apprehend Kretschmer. The car went off the road, and the gunman fled into an industrial area in Wendlingen about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the school.

Tracked by specialist armed police and police spotters in helicopters Kretschmer was finally cornered in the carpark of a car dealership in Wendlingen. Kretschmer, the son of a well known local farmer and businessman, made a last stand and killed a salesman and a customer before being shot by police marksmen being injured in the leg. At first it was unclear if the shooting killed him or if he was wounded and then shot himself. Police now believe that the evidence points to suicide.

During the manhunt, police stormed the youth's home in Leutenbach to conduct a search. Kretschmer's father, a hobbyist hunter, legally owned 15 firearms and one was missing from the collection. The majority of the firearms were kept securely locked as German law mandates, however a handgun was kept in the parent's bedroom and it is this weapon that is presumed to have been used. Also, all the ammunition was not locked away, and Kretschmer reportedly carried a "3-digit figure" of ammunition with him.

The police are still uncertain about the motive, as Kretschmer was known as a calm, inconspicuous person to the people who knew him personally. He didn't have a criminal record and has apparently not made any announcements of his killing spree, neither online nor to any of his friends.

Kretschmer had been a graduate of Albertville school the previous year.

Two police officers remain in serious condition.


Sources

Wikipedia
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