Thursday 27 October 2016

Garage workers catch gunman after two die in drive-by attacks

Melanie Hall in Berlin

Published 11/07/2015 | 02:30

German police officer guard a crime scene iin Tiefenthal.
German police officer guard a crime scene iin Tiefenthal.

Two "courageous" mechanics overpowered a gunman suspected of killing two elderly victims in drive-by shootings in southern Germany yesterday.

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The two workers managed to wrestle the suspect to the ground when he pulled over at the petrol station after allegedly gunning down an 82-year-old woman and a male cyclist, 72.

Police said they do not yet know the motive for the attacks, which took place around 10am local time when the 47-year-old gunman, named only as Bernd G under German privacy laws, ​ allegedly ​ fired at his victims from a silver Mercedes convertible in Leutershausen in the Ansbach district in northern Bavaria.

An eyewitness said the 82-year-old woman, who would have celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary this year, stood up from a bench and exchanged a few words with the driver.

As she turned away to sit back down, the suspect allegedly shot her in the back before speeding off, according reports in the 'Süddeutsche Zeitung' newspaper.

The suspect is then alleged to have killed the cyclist 5km away in Rammersdorf, sparking a public alert and a major police hunt, including four helicopters.

The suspect, an Ansbach resident who officials said was not previously known to the police and had no apparent connection with his victims, then attacked a number of other people, including threatening a motorist and attempting to shoot a farmer driving his tractor.

Shots ​were fired ​at the tractor but didn't directly hit the farmer, who suffered light scratches from the broken glass.

The suspect stopped at an Esso petrol station 30km away at around 11.45am, entering the shop and threatening two people with a pistol, said Ansbach detective chief Hermann Lennert.

The ​suspect momentarily laid the gun down on the counter, allowing one of the cashiers to grab it and run away, and the suspect then fled the shop before the two mechanics wrestled him to the ground.

Joachim Herrmann, the Bavarian interior minister, praised the "courageous intervention" by the petrol station workers.

"It's thanks to them that nothing worse happened," he said.

It emerged that the suspect had licences for two large-calibre weapons, a pistol and a revolver, with one of the two weapons found in his car after he was arrested.

Siegfried Hess, the mayor of Leutershausen, said everyone in the town had been "thrown off the rails" by the attack.

He said: "In a place with 5,500 inhabitants, where we have always lived a tranquil life, you only know about these situations from the television. And then something like this happens on your doorstep. You're at a loss for words."

Mr Hess described the killings as "probably the worst crime in the history of the town".

Leading state prosecutor Gerhard Neuhof said the suspect displayed "psychiatric symptoms" while being transported away from the scene of the crime in a police car.

He added that the man was undergoing psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he should be held in police or medical custody. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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