Hostage-taker kills four in German apartment siege

A jobless man armed with guns and grenades shot dead four hostages and then himself Wednesday in a four-hour siege at a German apartment he was being evicted from, police said.

Police stormed the apartment in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe when they smelled burning several hours after the drama began, and found five bodies including that of the 53-year-old hostage-taker.

Prosecutors said the victims, who included a bailiff, a locksmith, the new flat owner as well as the female partner of the gunman, who previously owned the flat, were "basically executed".

"According to what we know, I assume that he planned a hostage-taking and even murder of the people who entered (the flat)," chief public prosecutor Gunter Spitz told a news conference.

Police said the man, described as unemployed with no record of violence, was armed with two pistols, two other guns, ammunition and hand grenades when he barricaded himself in the flat with his hostages.

Police chief Hildegard Gerecke told the news conference that security forces had faced a "very difficult, highly complex" situation.

"The forces did everything, knowing that there was a considerable danger, to of course do what was possible to save the lives of the hostages which, unfortunately, was no longer possible," she told reporters.

The gunman's 55-year-old partner had owned the apartment but fallen behind on maintenance fees and the home had been auctioned off.

The new owner ordered the couple to be evicted, prompting the bailiff, the locksmith and a social worker who planned to advise the pair on their options to go to the home early Wednesday.

After letting them inside, the man produced a weapon and ordered the locksmith to tie up the other victims. The hostage-taker, who was not named, shot the locksmith several times when he tried to snatch a gun away.

The gunman shot the bailiff in the leg, and released the social worker who then contacted police. They tried in vain to make telephone contact with the hostage-taker.

Police stormed the three-room apartment about four hours after the drama began, initially finding four bodies including the hostage-taker before also discovering the body of his partner in bed.

The four victims ranged in age from 33 to 55 years.

It was still unclear how the man obtained the weapons.

"I can tell you I am not only shocked but absolutely horrified by what happened today," Karlsruhe Mayor Heinz Fenrich said.

The fifth-floor flat was at the top of an apartment building in a leafy, middle-class neighbourhood, a few kilometres (miles) north of the city centre.

About 200 police officers were sent to the scene including about 40 members of elite units, and the area was sealed off.

Two schools and kindergartens are located nearby and several apartment blocks were evacuated, according to the local daily Badische Zeitung.

Justice minister of Baden-Wuerttemberg state Rainer Stickelberger called for everything to be done to shed light on "the terrible crime as quickly as possible".

German gun laws were tightened after two school massacres in the eastern city of Erfurt in April 2002 and in the southwestern town of Winnenden in March 2009, both of which were also carried out with legal weapons.

Several evictions in Germany have ended violently in recent years.

In December, a 68-year-old man shot the new owner of the apartment building he had been forced to put up for auction in Rastatt, also in Baden-Wuerttemberg.

In May 2010, a 62-year-old man caused a gas explosion in a house in central Thuringia state under threat of eviction.

After switching on the gas and lighting candles he and his wife tried to commit suicide by taking sleeping pills. While his wife died in the fire, the man ran to warn neighbours and left the building.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Muslim group calls for universal peace
    Muslim group calls for universal peace

    As predominantly Catholic Philippines and the rest of the Christian world observe the Holy Week, peace advocates like the Young Muslim Professionals Network (YMPN) are appealing to Filipinos of various creeds and persuasion to embrace the universal message of kindness, love and peace. The group issued the call as peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front teeter due to the Mamasapano incident where members of the rebel group killed 44 police commandos on a …

  • Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage
    Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage

    A former World Bank official has warned of dire consequences for the Philippines if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not passed into law. Nigel Roberts, former director on conflict, security and development, said that more conflict could occur without the BBL. “It takes about 15 years to get back to pre-conflict GDP growth rates, and 20 years for trade to recover,” Roberts said in his blog at the World Bank website. The World Bank estimated that economic losses amounted to $10 …

  • Despite typhoon, summer is here
    Despite typhoon, summer is here

    Super Typhoon Chedeng roared toward Luzon as the weather bureau announced the official start of summer in the country yesterday. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced yesterday the official start of the dry or summer season in the country due to the termination of the cold northeast monsoon. “The general public is advised to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress and take note of the need in optimizing the daily use of …

  • Noy told: Just answer the questions
    Noy told: Just answer the questions

    Just answer the 20 questions. The Makabayan bloc of seven party-list representatives made this appeal to President Aquino yesterday after his spokesman claimed the Chief Executive has already answered most of the questions posed by the militant lawmakers regarding the Mamasapano incident. For instance, he said the President has not yet explained why he allowed then suspended Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima to take the lead in Oplan Exodus or the mission to …

  • DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah
    DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah

    Malaysia does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintained yesterday that the Malaysian government is paying rent for Sabah, indicating it rightfully belongs to the Philippines. The Malay Mail Online reported that Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia has not and does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah when asked by media about the reported offer of the Philippine government to downgrade its Sabah …

  • 63 OFWs returning from Yemen
    63 OFWs returning from Yemen

    Sixty-three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are set to return home from war-torn Yemen, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday. Baldoz said the licensed recruiters of the OFWs have assured the government of their immediate repatriation. Administrator Hans Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has ordered the recruitment agencies to fulfill their obligation to bring home the OFWs. Baldoz called on Filipinos still in Yemen to avail themselves of the government’s …

  • Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup
    Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup

    Despite opposition from ombudsman lawyers, the Sandiganbayan yesterday granted detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s request to undergo a medical checkup at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital. Estrada was allowed to undergo a medical examination for pain in his left shoulder from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The senator was ordered to shoulder the expenses incurred by the Philippine National Police in  escorting him. In a pleading filed Monday with the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division, Estrada’s lawyers …

  • Tekken’s Josie Rizal gets flak
    Tekken’s Josie Rizal gets flak

    A professor of the University of the Philippines yesterday hit the portrayal of a Filipino character, whose name was based on Jose Rizal, in a Japanese-produced video game. “(It’s) offensive and unsuited for a big company like Bandai because they have the money to do research,” Gonzalo Campoamor II, professor of Life and Works of Rizal in UP Diliman, told The STAR. Japanese giant Namco Bandai recently introduced Josie Rizal, the first Filipino character in the popular fighting game franchise …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options