German police arrest pair after shots fired near US airbase | News | DW | 04.02.2019
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German police arrest pair after shots fired near US airbase

Two men caused a major police mobilization by driving around near a US military base firing a replica gun out of their car window. Police said that the suspects had "no idea" they were in such a sensitive area.

Two men in a van caused a major disturbance on Sunday night in the western German city of Wiesbaden.

Officials were alerted after a resident of the city's Delkenheim district reported that several shots had been fired from a white van in the direction of an airfield belonging to the US Army's Lucius D. Clay military base. The report prompted a large-scale police operation involving vehicles from Wiesbaden and the surrounding area. A police helicopter was also drafted in.

The van was tracked down to a local business park, where two men were arrested at a unit they had rented. According to police, the 20-year-old passenger, whose 26-year-old work colleague had been driving, had fired the shots from a blank alarm pistol which was found in the vehicle.

Read more: A look at US soldiers in Germany

'Not a good idea'

Police said that neither of the men, who both come from the German state of Thuringia — far from Wiesbaden — appeared to have any idea they were near a military airfield. The pair said they had simply wanted to test out the pistol in an open space.

The men were released after questioning, with the man who fired the shots facing prosecution for breaching Germany's gun laws. Among other possible offenses, officials said, was that he did not possess the necessary license for an alarm pistol.

"It will certainly have been a lesson to both young men that it's not a good idea to fire a gun into the air near to a US site," a police spokesperson said.

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