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Teen Gunman Massacres 15 at School in Germany

Published: March 13, 2009 (Issue # 1456)



  • Students mourn at the Albertville-Realschule school in Winnenden where a gunman killed 15 people on Wednesday.
    Photo: Reuters

WAIBLINGEN, Germany — The 17-year-old gunman who went on a rampage at his former school and killed 15 people before taking his own life warned of his plans in an Internet chatroom only hours before, officials said Thursday.

Suspect Tim K. told others in the chat room that he was “sick of this life” and planned to attack his school in Winnenden, Baden Wuerttemburg state Interior Minister Heribert Rech said.

Rech said the suspect wrote, “You will hear from me tomorrow, remember the name of a place called Winnenden.”

In the first indication of a motive in the shooting, Rech said the teenager told others in the German-language chat room that: “Everyone laughs at me, nobody recognizes my potential.”

“I’m serious, I have a weapon here,” Rech said the youth wrote. “Tomorrow I will go to my school.”

Rech said that the chat had occurred the night before the attack, but a police official, Erwin Hetger, later said it was in the early morning Wednesday, about six hours before the 9:30 a.m. shooting.

A Bavarian man told police about the chat after the school shooting in Winnenden had taken place, Rech said. He told authorities his 17-year-old son only told him about it after seeing the news reports and had not taken the threat seriously.

Despite the high death toll, the shooting could have been worse if the principal of the high school had not been able to warn teachers with a prearranged code over the public address system when the suspect burst into the school.

According to media reports, after the suspect entered the school in Winnenden on Wednesday morning and opened fire, the principal put the emergency plan in effect, quickly broadcasting a coded message to teachers: “Frau Koma is coming,” students said.

“Then our teacher closed the door and said we should close the windows and sit on the floor,” a student, identified only as Kim S., told ZDF television.

In German the word “amoklauf” is used to describe school shootings, and “koma” is the reverse of the word “amok.” Hetger said the coded alert was worked out by German educators after a deadly school shooting in Erfurt in 2002 as a way to warn teachers.

Local media have identified the gunman as Tim Kretschmer and the name on his parent’s home was Kretschmer.

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Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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