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Europe

Two killed in court shooting rampage

©

Latest update : 2009-04-07

A gunman opened fire in a German court Tuesday, killing a woman before turning the gun on himself. The attack came less than a month after a teenager killed 15 people in a gun rampage in the German town of Winnenden.


AFP - A gunman killed one person and then himself at a German courthouse Tuesday, police said, just four weeks after a deranged German teenager massacred 15 people before turning the gun on himself.
   
Police spokesman Peter Kremer told AFP that the assailant, believed to be aged 60, had killed himself after opening fire at a hearing which was reportedly part of an inheritance case.
   
The victim was a woman, possibly the shooter's sister, and another two people were wounded.
   
It was not immediately clear whether the gunman was involved in the case being heard before the court or was simply a spectator.
   
"We do not know at this time whether (the shooting) is linked to the case," said another police spokesman, Thomas Ploessl.
   
He said the courthouse, in the city of 63,000 people about 60 kilometres (40 miles) northeast of Munich, had been evacuated and barricaded.
   
Because the case was civil and not criminal, people attending the hearing did not have to undergo security checks, the daily Bild newspaper reported on its website.
   
The court employs 128 people including 34 judges, according to its website.
   
The incident comes just four weeks after a 17-year-old boy gunned down 15 people in the southwestern German town of Winnenden, in a bloodbath that revived an emotional debate over gun laws.
   
Tim Kretschmer returned to the secondary school that he had left last year with average marks on the morning of March 11, dressed in combat gear.
   
He went to several classrooms, picking off his victims mostly with expert shots to the head.
   
All but one of those killed at the school by the teenager were female.
   
The teenage killer, a fan of violent "shoot-em-up" computer games and grisly horror films who was said to be clinically depressed, shot himself when police tried to apprehend him after killing three innocent bystanders while on the run.
   
He stole the weapon, a Beretta pistol, from his father's stocked gun cabinet after cracking its security code.
   
The case gave way to an outpouring of sympathy across the country for the victims and pledges from leading politicians to firm up gun laws.
   
President Horst Koehler backed families of the victims who appealed in an open letter for stricter weapons laws and a ban on gory video games.
   
Gun laws were tightened considerably in the wake of a massacre at a school in Erfurt in 2002 that left 17 dead including the gunman.
   
Rolling news channel NTV said Tuesday there are 10 million legal weapons in Germany.

Date created : 2009-04-07

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