A gunman in Germany yesterday executed two bailiffs, a locksmith and a woman by shooting them in the head before taking his own life after an attempted eviction from his home.
One of the dead was believed to be the killer’s ex-girlfriend, who owned the flat and who took out the eviction order.
The hostage drama began shortly after 9am in the south-western city of Karlsruhe, when court-appointed officials arrived at the loft apartment in the city’s Kanalweg district to enforce the order.
According to reports the gunman was a hunter and had a small arsenal of weapons including a hand grenade. He was heard by neighbours to shout at the bailiffs:
“You want my home, it will cost you your life.”
Officers of the elite SEK police commando squad, 40 in all, surrounded the apartment building after sealing nearby roads. More than 200 police were involved in the operation and a police helicopter hovered overhead during the three-hour standoff. It is understood no lines of communication were opened and the victims were probably killed when the first gunshots were heard soon after 9am.
The man barricaded his flat with furniture and SEK officers stormed it shortly after midday when they noticed smoke. There was no gunfight. A kindergarten and school near the apartment block were also evacuated. A police spokesman said: “We are looking at five dead in the apartment. The threat is now over.”
Seven pastoral care workers and priests moved into the area after the siege ended to break the news of deaths to loved ones and offer counselling. One of them, Catholic worker Peter Bitsch, said:
“We must care for those directly and indirectly affected by this terrible tragedy.”