Monday, November 20, 2006

German School Shooting

A masked man, now dead, stormed a German school at about 9:30 am (8.30 GMT), Monday, November 20, 2006, in the town of Emsdetten, near the Dutch border, and injured eight people when he opened fire. Among the injured were several students and a teacher, though a police spokesman said the injuries were all minor. Apparently hostages were taken for two hours, per recent media accounts, before the crisis ended with the death of the gunman.

According to Deutsche Presse-Agentur:

Emsdetten, Germany - A masked ex-pupil opened fire in the playground of his former high school in Germany Monday, wounding at least nine people before apparently killing himself with his pistol.

Police had to delay an inspection of his prone body because it appeared to have explosives attached to it. A school caretaker and two pupils were in serious condition, said Ingo Wolf, interior minister of North Rhine Westphalia state.

The youth, 18, left a farewell message on the internet that suggested the attack was retaliation for being mocked at the school in the town of Emsdetten near the Dutch border.

Several students were grazed by bullets, but it remained unclear if the youth had taken any hostages during the two hours when the ex-pupil was holed up in a school building ringed by armed police.

School children scattered as the youth arrived and fired his pistol, just under two hours after the start of school. Most took refuge in another building or on nearby premises. The youth later threw smoke bombs.

Police said web pages which contained photos of the youth holding weapons including a sub-machine-gun appeared to be the youth's own.

Criticising his former high school, the Geschwister Scholl School (GSS), the youth said, 'The only thing I was properly taught at GSS was that I'm a loser.' The message contained the words, 'I hate people,' and ended with the words, 'I'm outta here.'

Teachers in Emsdetten, 150 kilometres north of Cologne in North Rhine Westphalia state, said the attacker had been a loner who had been interested in Satanism and gothic music.

A prosecutor in the nearby city of Muenster said the youth appeared to have shot himself, but how he died could only be proved by an autopsy. Police said they had not shot him.

Explosives experts were called to remove what might be bombs attached to his body.

A teacher told the TV broadcaster WDR the attacker was not a dropout but had graduated from the Scholl school.

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