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Merkel party politician killed with shot to head

John Silk | Darko Janjevic
June 3, 2019

Walter Lübcke was discovered in his garden with a gunshot wound to his head. Police said there was no indication of suicide and that they were looking for a perpetrator.

Walter Lübcke
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/U. Zucchi

The president of the regional council of the central German city of Kassel was found dead in his garden early Sunday morning. He was shot with a short-barreled weapon from close range, according to investigators. There was no indication of suicide.

Medical officials attempted to resuscitate Lübcke, but their efforts were unsuccessful, authorities said at a press conference on Monday.

Police said they were looking for a perpetrator and investigating in "all directions." However, there was yet no information about possible suspects or a motive. Authorities also refused to answer most reporters' questions about the apparent crime, citing the ongoing investigation. 

Regional news outlet HNA reported that Lübcke had been found with a bullet wound to his head, and that police had found no weapon at the scene.

Police arrive at Lübcke's house
Police teams equipped with sniffer dogs were deployed to the siteImage: Reuters/R. Orlowski

Police had locked down the area and used a helicopter and drones for surveillance. Numerous police officers and sniffer dogs were also seen at the site.

Confusion and devastation

Lübcke was a member of Angela Merkel's center-right CDU party. The CDU described the Lübcke as a "bridge builder" who never shied away from "telling it as it is."

A statement by the regional council said that its members were "shocked by the death of the popular and extraordinarily approachable" Lübcke.

The conservative politician led the Kassel government for 10 years, taking on the post of regional president in May 2009. He had served as a state lawmaker for 10 years before that. He is survived by a wife, two sons, and a grandson.

His term in office was originally due to end on March 31, but it was extended at the request of Volker Bouffier, the premier of the state of Hesse, where Kassel is located.

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John Silk Editor and writer for English news, as well as the Culture and Asia Desks.@JSilk