Shooting spree at a German school

A 17-year-old gunman started a shooting spree at a German school in Winnenden this morning.

The town of Winnenden near Stuttgart was the scene of a tragic school shooting today. Former Albertville-Realschule student Tim K. entered the school around 9.30am and started a rampage, firing into 4 classrooms. He killed ten students as well as 3 teachers.

The shooting at the school lasted only a few minutes, but it resulted in the deaths of 13 people, among them ten 14-15-years-old students from Year 9 and Year 10 classes. One of the killed teachers had only started her training placement with the school a month ago. It is reported, that all shot teachers, as well as 8 of the killed students were female, leaving the media to speculate that this crime was targeted at women. Eye-witnesses also recount, that the gunman aimed head-high at his victims.

The gunman managed to flee from the scene, although Winnenden got closed off within minutes. While fleeing the scene, Tim K. also shot and killed an employee of the nearby Psychiatry and Neurology Centre. And although police warned drivers not to stop for hitch-hikers in the area, Tim K. managed to hijack a car and force a man to drive him into the town of Wendlingen, 40km away.

In Wendlingen, the young man also shot and killed a car seller and his client and it is suspected he was looking for a getaway car. The car showroom was the scene of a bloody shoot-out between Tim K. and the police, during which Tim K. was first wounded in the leg and then shot himself in the head. Two officers sustained serious injuries.

The man was described by friends and teachers as a "quiet, young man" who was interested in soft air weapons and horror movies. His father is a member of the local shooting club, and Tim K. accompanied him to the shooting range from time to time, but never trained there. When the house of Tim K.'s parents was searched, police found one gun missing and suspect it to be the murder weapon.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the shootings as "incomprehensible". "It is unimaginable that in just seconds, pupils and teachers were killed - it is an appalling crime," she told reporters.

A service will be held at 8pm tonight at St. Karl Borromäus church in Winnenden to pray for the victims.

Sources: SWR, DPA, N24

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