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Europe

Death toll at 16 after gunman shot dead

©

Video by Fiona CAMERON

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-03-12

Fifteen people were killed when a gunman went on a rampage earlier today at a school in the German village of Winnenden, according to officials. The killer, a former student at the school, was later shot dead by police.

The death toll in Wednesday's school shooting in Germany has risen to 16, including the 17-year-old masked gunman, nine students, three teachers and three passers-by, according to Heribert Rech, the interior minister of the Baden-Wuerttemberg.

 

In a press conference in Berlin Wednesday afternoon, German chancellor Angela Merkel called the crime "incomprehensible." "I cannot understand what is going on," she added.

 

The killer went on a rampage at his former school in Winnenden, near the southern city of Stuttgart, before being shot in a firefight with police around 40 kilometres (25 miles) away. Two policemen were also seriously injured during the police shootout.

 

Other German news sources, including Bild, quoted local police as saying the boy’s parents own 18 licensed firearms. The father is a successful businessman.

 

“The boy may have been taking revenge for being expelled,” said Anne Maillet, a FRANCE 24 correspondent in Germany.

 

“The boy was known to the police already,” said Damien McGuinness, another FRANCE 24 correspondent, reporting from Berlin.

 

According to Maillet, the school is not particularly academically high-pressure, and the area is somewhat affluent, so the shooting was especially “shocking.”

 

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung website cited a police officer in Waiblinge, a nearby town, who said the shooter entered the local secondary school at around 9:30 in the morning, and was clad in black army fatigues. Waiblinge is the town the gunman reportedly tried to flee to.

 

The school has been evacuated. Students and teachers are to be offered medical and psychological care.

 

This is not the first school shooting Germany has seen in recent years. McGuiness recalled the attacks of 2002 in Erfurt, in which an expelled student shot 18 teachers and students including himself, and in 2006 in Emsdetten, in which a former student shot and injured about a dozen students before shooting and killing himself.

 

Germany takes these incidents seriously, says McGuinness, adding: “After the 2002 attack, when it was discovered the assailant was very interested in video games, the German government placed restrictions on violent games.”

 

 

 

 

Date created : 2009-03-11

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