, BERLIN, Jun 25 – A German truck driver has confessed to being the mysterious “Autobahn sniper” who over five years fired more than 700 shots at passing vehicles on highways, citing “anger and frustration about traffic” as his motive, police said Tuesday.
The 57 year old man’s sustained road rage, which left one woman driver badly injured with a neck wound but claimed no deaths, had baffled police since it started in 2008.
Investigators struggled to find the shooter because the impact holes on the targeted vehicles, mostly other trucks but also cars and camper vans, were usually only discovered when they arrived at their destinations, making it hard to pinpoint where they were hit.
A multi-state police taskforce with 90 officers used data from trucks’ on-board computers, hidden roadside cameras with number plate recognition and mobile phone networks to narrow down suspect vehicles and eventually identify the man, broadcaster Suedwestrundfunk reported.
The man, identified by German media as Michael K., was arrested in his western home state of North Rhine Westphalia on Sunday. Police said they discovered several firearms of different calibres and 1,300 rounds of ammunition in his home.
He faces multiple charges, including attempted manslaughter and serious assault for shooting the woman in 2009, police said.
Federal police president Joerg Ziercke said the man had confessed, citing “anger and frustration about traffic” as the reason he fired at least 762 shots over the years while driving his truck.
Ziercke labelled the case “unique in criminal history”.
Investigators consider the man a “frustrated loner with a hatred for people,” said the chief prosecutor of the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg, Dietrich Geuder, who added that the self styled vigilante saw traffic on German highways as “a war”.