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.

  • ‘Next leader must not be newbie’
    ‘Next leader must not be newbie’

    Vice President Jejomar Binay believes the next president of the Philippines must have vast experience and a long track record in governance and in dealing with crises. “I am very much convinced that the local government is the best training ground for those who want to run for national government positions,” he said. Binay said he is determined to run for president in 2016 on the strength of his competence and track record. …

  • Massacre suspect tests negative for poisoning
    Massacre suspect tests negative for poisoning

    A suspect in the Maguindanao massacre case who had been examined at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) tested negative for poisoning, medical records released yesterday showed. However, the Quezon City court handling the multiple murder case resolved to isolate Police Officer 1 Pia Kamidon from the rest of the accused detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig for his safety. In a two-page order, Regional Trial Court Branch 221 assisting Judge Genie Gapas-Agbada ordered jail officials to …

  • ‘Homework first before Facebook’
    ‘Homework first before Facebook’

    President Aquino elicited laughter from students here as he reminded them to open books first before Facebook. “Finish your assignments first before making a raid in the Clash of Clans,” Aquino said, referring to a popular online game. In a speech during the turnover yesterday of two new three-story buildings at the Tarlac National High School, he said the government could only provide opportunities for learning but the rest of the work would be up to the students. The new school buildings …

  • Espina resignation confirmed; Noy looks for replacement
    Espina resignation confirmed; Noy looks for replacement

    President Aquino ended speculations yesterday and confirmed that Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina had indeed resigned as officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police. As of this time, we are conducting various interviews and checks on the various candidates,” Aquino told reporters at the Tarlac National High School in Tarlac City. Aquino had kind words for Espina, saying that he stood by and defended the 44 slain police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in the operation in …

  • Palace welcomes G7 concern over sea reclamation
    Palace welcomes G7 concern over sea reclamation

    President Aquino welcomed yesterday the Group of Seven industrialized countries’ expression of concern over rising tension in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, calling it a clear indication of the global scope of the problem ramped up by China’s massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. In Tarlac City where he led the turnover of new classrooms, Aquino told reporters that goodwill and not tension must prevail in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, where territorial …

  • DepEd, TESDA tie up for K to 12
    DepEd, TESDA tie up for K to 12

    The Department of Education (DepEd) has partnered with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the first two years of implementation of the K to 12 program. “We will use TESDA centers as technical-vocational laboratories for senior high school,” DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said during the inauguration of 30 new classrooms at the Tarlac National High School yesterday. The classrooms were constructed in partnership with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. …

  • SE Asia Stocks-Philippine falls on foreign selling; others flat to weaker

    BANGKOK, April 17 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets ended flat to weaker on Friday as Philippine stocks slid on selling led by foreign funds and Singapore shares extended losses with investors ... …

  • Philippine Airlines parent says back in black
    Philippine Airlines parent says back in black

    Philippine Airlines' parent firm said it had returned to profitability, the first time in three years either entity reported being in the black for an entire year. In a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange Thursday, PAL Holdings reported an after-tax net profit of 129.74 million pesos ($2.93 million) in its fiscal year to December 31. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options