Teen gunman dead after killing 15 at German school

March 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A 17-year-old gunman dressed in black opened fire at his former high school in southwestern Germany on Wednesday then fled in a hijacked car, killing at least 15 people before police shot him to death, state officials said. The gunman entered the school in Winnenden and opened fire, shooting at random, police said. He killed nine students, three teachers and a passer-by outside the building, officials said.

l "He went into the school with a weapon and carried out a bloodbath," said regional police chief Erwin Hetger. "I've never seen anything like this in my life."

Triggering a land and air manhunt, he hijacked a car, freed the passengers and drove about 25 miles (40 kilometers) before police found him. When confronted, he killed two bystanders in a shootout with police before he was slain, Baden Wuerttemburg governor Guenther Oettinger said. Two officers were seriously injured, but there was no immediate information on other casualties.

Four hours after the shootings began, police announced the teenager's death.

It was the nation's worst shooting since another teenage gunman killed 16 people and himself in another high school in 2002.

Concerned parents quickly swarmed the school, which was evacuated.

Police have have identified the gunman only as Tim K, who graduated last year from the school of about 1,000 students.

The German government was "deeply shocked and incensed about the appalling killing spree," Ulrich Wilhelm, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said in Berlin.

In 2002, 19-year-old Robert Steinhaeuser shot and killed 12 teachers, a secretary, two students and a police officer before turning his gun on himself in the Gutenberg high school in Erfurt, in eastern Germany.

Steinhaeuser, who had been expelled for forging a doctor's note, was a gun club member licensed to own weapons. The attack led Germany to raise the age for owning recreational firearms from 18 to 21.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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