11 slain in German school shooting

March 11, 2009 12:00 am

, BERLIN Mar 11- A teenager dressed in black combat gear went on the rampage at his former school in Germany on Wednesday, killing at least 11 people before he was shot dead by armed police.

Police said that several others were wounded in the shooting spree at the secondary school in Winnenden, near the southern city of Stuttgart.

Although armed commandos with helicopters and dogs then launched a massive hunt for the 17-year-old gunman, police killed the teenager despite earlier reports that the teenager subsequently shot himself dead in the car park of a nearby shopping centre.

German television earlier reported that a suspect had been arrested but police said that he had fled the school in the direction of the town centre.

The editor of the local paper, Frank Nipkau, told television channel N-TV that eight pupils and two adults were shot dead at the secondary school.

Other reports said nine were killed in the school and a tenth as the gunman fled.

"The gunman just sprayed bullets all around him," N-TV cited an unnamed witness as saying. A local radio journalist told the same channel that the ex-pupil had used a machine gun.

The Bild daily said on its website that police commandos had stormed the home of the 17-year-old’s parents, where 18 weapons were legally held. It was unclear if the gunman used any these guns in his attack.

The picturesque town of Winnenden, which lies around 25 kilometres northeast Stuttgart in the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, has around 27,000 inhabitants.

Europe has been scarred by a number of fatal attacks on schools or nurseries in recent years, at least three of them in Germany.

In February 2002, a 22-year-old gunman killed the headmaster and seriously injured another person in a vocational training establishment he attended at Freising, near Munich.

Two months later, 16 people were killed at a high-school in Erfurt in eastern Germany, by a 19-year-old former student, who then killed himself.

In November 2006, a former student at a vocational school in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany went a shooting spree in the establishment, injuring 37 people before turning his gun on himself.

He had warned of his intentions on the Internet.

Elsewhere, in September 2008, a student at another vocational school, this time in Finland, burst into a classroom and gunned down nine students and a teacher. He then set the building on fire before killing himself.

He too warned of his intentions via an Internet video.

In January this year, a 20-year-old man armed with a knife killed two infants, aged six and nine months, and a 54-year-old nurse in a childcare centre outside Brussels.

In the US southern state of Alabama on Tuesday, a gunman killed at least ten people before killing himself, local authorities and state police said.


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