Student Killed in School Shooting Spree | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 02.07.2003
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Student Killed in School Shooting Spree

A 16-year-old boy at a Bavarian school died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Wednesday morning after shooting his teacher in the leg in an incident reminiscent of Germany's own Columbine.


The southern German town of Coburg is in shock after a student opened fire in a school.

A fatal shooting at a school in the Bavarian town of Coburg left one dead and another injured. The event brings up memories of last year's school shooting in Erfurt.

According to initial police reports, an eye witness reported that the 16-year-old pupil stood up from his chair during a biology class, pulled out a weapon and fired at the teacher, standing just a few meters in front of him. Unharmed, the teacher and the other students were able to escape from the room. A second teacher who also worked as school counsellor then attempted to approach the pupil and was hit in the leg when she tried to seize the gun. Police say the pupil then pulled out another weapon and shot himself. The wounded teacher is being treated in a local hospital and her condition is not thought to be critical.

Bavarian Education Minister Monika Hohlmeier, who immediately visited the scene of the crime, said at a press conference that the pupil was not considered an outsider and was expected to pass the year. So far, details regarding his motive remain unclear. According to Hohlmeier, it's believed the boy may have undergone recent upheavals in his personal life and that his academic performance suffered as a result.

A police spokesperson said investigations had turned up evidence to suggest the pupil may have been interested in Satanism, and went on to say that the two shotguns belonged to the pupil's father. Coburg's mayor Norbert Kastner described the family as a "traditional family of marksmen."

The shooting in Coburg is the latest in a series of similar incidents to have shaken Germany in recent years. The country's worst post-war shooting spree occurred in April 2002, when a student returned to a high school he'd recently been expelled from and killed 16 fellow students and teachers, before turning the gun on himself. Two months prior to that, a 22-year-old shot and killed three people and wounded one at his former voacational college. In November 1999, a 16-year-old in Bad Reichenhall killed three people and wounded six, before taking his and his sister's life.

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