Gunman Kills Self, 4 Others in Hostage Standoff

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

BERLIN (AP) - A heavily armed man whose girlfriend was being
evicted from her apartment Wednesday killed four people, including
the new owner and a court bailiff who were shot execution style,
before turning a shotgun on himself, German authorities said.

A commando team stormed the apartment in the southern German
city of Karlsruhe, but the 53-year-old gunman and the victims were
already dead.

Also killed were the girlfriend, a 55-year-old woman who was
found on her bed with a gunshot wound to her chest, near the
gunman's body.

The bailiff and new owner were found with their hands bound on a
couch, dead from gunshot wounds to the head. A locksmith was found
dead on the floor.

"It was a terrible crime," said Hildegard Gerecke, the
Karlsruhe police chief.

"Nothing could be done to stop it and nothing could be done to
save them."

She said the suspect, whose name wasn't released in accordance
with German privacy laws, had no history of violence that would
have made the bailiff and the others expect any danger.

The apartment is in a building that was once part of the U.S.
Army's Paul Revere Village and used to house troops.

The woman had fallen behind on payments and the apartment was
sold at foreclosure auction. At about 8 a.m. the bailiff, a
locksmith, and a social worker showed up to evict her.

When nobody opened the door they began trying to force the lock,
then the suspect opened the door and ushered them in, said deputy
police chief Roland Lay, who ran the operation.

The new owner of the apartment, a 49-year-old man, showed up
minutes later.

Once all were inside the suspect told them to sit but when the
bailiff refused, the suspect went into another room, grabbed a
pistol, and shot him twice in the thigh, Lay said.

A struggle for the pistol ensued with the 33-year-old locksmith,
and the suspect shot him four or five times, including in the head.

About 45 minutes later, after binding the hands of the others
and putting them on the couch, the suspect let the social worker go
and he informed police of the shootings.

Police tried to make contact with the suspect on the cell phones
of his captives and the apartment's phone, but nobody answered, Lay
said.

About ten minutes before noon, when they smelled smoke from the
apartment, they used explosives to blow through the door and
stormed in, finding the carpet on fire and the grisly scene, he said.

In addition to the shotgun, police found a rifle with a long magazine, two pistols, a dummy hand grenade and a lot of ammunition, Lay said.

Authorities said the suspect shared his time between Karlsruhe
and the nearby Alsace region of neighboring France. It was not yet
clear where the man got the weapons, which were not registered.


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