Sixteen killed in German school shooting spree (Second Lead)

March 11th, 2009 - 9:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Berlin, March 11 (DPA) Sixteen people were killed Wednesday when a former pupil went on a shooting spree at a German school before he was shot dead in an exchange of fire with the police.
The 17-year-old gunman reportedly shot dead nine students and three teachers at the school in southern town of Winnenden, near Stuttgart, in one of the worst incidents of its kind in Germany.

The police said an employee at a nearby psychiatric clinic was killed by the youth when he fled the scene. He later killed two other people before he was shot dead by the police who cornered him at a supermarket in Wendlingen, 40 km away. Two policemen were injured in the shootout.

The gunman, who was wearing a black combat uniform, was apparently armed with a sub-machine gun when he walked into the Albertville secondary school at 9.45 a.m. (0845).

Witnesses said he went into three classrooms and opened fire indiscriminately without saying a word. The motive for the crime was not immediately clear. The youth was a pupil at the school until 2007.

“The attacker just started shooting wildly,” the television news channel n-tv quoted a witness as saying.

The gunman was believed to be the son of a local businessman who possessed a weapons licence and owned more than a dozen guns. The police searched the family home were the youth lived with his parents.

The police earlier sealed off the school and the town centre of Winnenden, 25 km north-east of Stuttgart. Some 1,000 pupils were in the school at the time of the attack.

The German shooting comes hours after at least 11 people were killed in a similar shooting spree in the US state of Alabama, on Tuesday.

German President Horst Koehler sent his condolences after Wednesday’s shooting.

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