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Archive for Thursday, March 12, 2009

Teen kills 15 in Germany before taking own life

People embrace one another in tears Wednesday in a church in Winnenden, Germany. A 17-year-old gunman dressed in black opened fire inside his former high school in southwestern Germany on Wednesday, killing 15 people, 11 of them women and girls, before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.

People embrace one another in tears Wednesday in a church in Winnenden, Germany. A 17-year-old gunman dressed in black opened fire inside his former high school in southwestern Germany on Wednesday, killing 15 people, 11 of them women and girls, before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.

March 12, 2009

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— The 17-year-old had no criminal record and authorities say he was barely noticed in school until he returned Wednesday with a handgun and a purpose.

Entering the high school where he graduated last year, he burst into morning classes and opened fire, taking students and teachers by complete surprise.

“Children were sitting at their tables, with pencils still in their hands, their heads fallen over on the table,” said regional police director Ralf Michelfelder, describing the grisly scene that his officers found. “Most of them had shots in their head — it must have all happened in seconds.”

Police identified the gunman only as Tim K. But the name on the mailbox at his parent’s home was Kretschmer and local media identified him as Tim Kretschmer.

The suspect went to three classrooms, killing nine students and three teachers before fleeing the building when police arrived on the scene. It was there the plan seemed to break down. Police said he left a cache of ammunition at the school, indicating that he had planned more killings there.

“Our officers were very quick,” said Baden Wuerttemburg state interior minister Heribert Rech. “Through the immediate police intervention they were able to prevent a further escalation of the crime.”

There was no immediate indication of motive, but the gunman’s victims were primarily female: eight of nine students killed were girls, and all three teachers were women. Three men were killed later as the suspect fled.

Friend Fabienne Boehm, 12, said she recently met the shooter and that he had claimed fellow students at the high school had mocked him and teachers there ignored him.

Three weeks ago, she said he showed her a note. “He wrote to his parents that he’s suffering and he can’t go on,” she told the AP outside a memorial service at a town church late Wednesday.

The dark-haired teen, shown wearing glasses in pictures on German television, apparently took the weapon from his father’s collection of 15 firearms along with a “multitude of ammunition,” police said. His father was a member of the local gun club and kept all the weapons locked away except for the pistol, which was kept in the bedroom.

Police said the suspect was a below-average student at the school of about 1,000 pupils, but managed to graduate last year.

After fleeing the school, the suspect ran into downtown Winnenden, a town of 28,000, where he shot two people walking by a psychiatric clinic, killing one and injuring the other, police said.

The gunman then hijacked a car and forced the driver to head south while threatening his life from the back seat, triggering a land and air manhunt involving 700 police officers and four helicopters, according to Stuttgart prosecutors, who are leading the investigation.

The driver swerved off the road to avoid a police checkpoint and managed to escape, while the suspect fled into an industrial area in the town of Wendlingen, about 24 miles from Winnenden.

He entered a car dealership, where he shot and killed his final victims — a salesman and a man shopping for a car — and then went back outside, prosecutors said.

He opened fire on police swarming the area. They shot back and hit the suspect, who fell to the ground, Michelfelder said.

But he got back up, reloaded his weapon, and fled into what turned out to be a dead-end street. Police found him there dead, having apparently shot himself in the head.

Two police officers suffered serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.

Comments

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 9 months ago

Would concealed carry have lowered the death toll? Possibly.

kef104 5 years, 9 months ago

STRS,

Let me follow your logic. Since the weapons used were readily available due to his father being a gun nut, there should have been other armed gun nuts, in a school no less, to stop him. So if everybody carries a gun, those who use them will be limited in the ability to kill. What if nobody carried a gun? Then nobody is dead to start with. Oh yeah, criminals. Wait, 15 dead, nobody was a criminal. Well not until after the first shot was fired. Oh wait, since he was then a criminal, all is now good again. We just need more guns, especially in the hands of students. Glad I have that straight.

Confrontation 5 years, 9 months ago

Unfortunately, we're going to see more and more of this. Parents of "popular" kids don't mind the fact that their children torture and bully other students. Those bullied students get some meds from their shrinks and head to the school with guns. Then, everyone acts like they don't understand why he shot at those "popular" kids. How can we prevent these shootings? Metal detectors at every school? Teachers with concealed weapons? I don't know.

denak 5 years, 9 months ago

There is no mention in this article that this young man was on any kind of physchiatric medication so you can't blame meds.

Secondly, there is not proof that the "popular" kids were torturing or bullying this student. The only mention is that he said some kids were mocking him. Considering the enormity of what he did, one has to wonder if his perception of the mocking incidents were accurate or if he had delusions of persecution.

Third, he didn't seem to have a type of victim other than whoever was the closest. Most of them happened to be female but it isn't known if he had a hatred of females. Most of his victims just appear to be random.

Lastly, in my opinion, the only thing that could have prevented this is the 12 year old friend going to his parents or to the police about the note. Kids have to learn that they do not ever take comments such as "I can't go on" lightly. These are clear signals that the person is thinking about suicide. Had this 12 year old told a counselor at school or the parents or someone, Tim K. might have gotten the help that he needed.

We don't need metal detectors, or concealed carry in our schools, these are knee jerk reactions that do not prevent these things from occuring. What we need are proactive programs that identify troubled youth and programs that teach our kids that if a friend is making these comments, then they need to tell someone and not adhere to a "code of silence" out of a misbegotten sense of loyalty.

Dena

staff04 5 years, 9 months ago

Only took 2 posts. That's impressive.

Strontius 5 years, 9 months ago

It's not that it took two posts; it's that STRS's answer to everything is a hand-gun.

There's going to be a lot of blame and wild speculation. People are going to blame guns, the media, violence in video games/movies/whatever, anything just to feel like it's someone else's fault.

The only person to blame here is the kid who attacked the school. It was an isolated incident. Sometimes you just can't read people's intentions or somehow magically know their psyches. It doesn't matter if he was bullied or not. That's not a reason or an excuse for anything and shouldn't be used as a stepping stone towards some half-baked plan to weed out bullying in schools.

Confrontation 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't quite understand how a metal detector won't deter someone from taking a gun into the school. It's more reliable than expecting some little brat to tell on his/her friend. Also, I guarantee that other "unpopular" students were "mocking" this guy. We know the type who do it.

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