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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.

Im 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 parents home was Kretschmer.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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