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German police: Bavarian officer still alive

October 19, 2016

Police in Bavaria have apologized for wrongly announcing the death of a 32-year-old officer shot during a home raid on a far-right activist on Wednesday. He is still alive, but in acute danger, a spokeswoman said.

Georgensgmünd Reichsbürger schießt auf Polizisten
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/N. Armer

"Contrary to initial reports, the badly-injured civil servant (32) from northern Bavaria's special police units remains alive, in acute danger of death at present," police spokeswoman Elke Schönwald said on Wednesday evening. "We ask your forgiveness for the mistaken report."

The correction came less than an hour after police saying the officer had died, which was reported by multiple German media outlets including DW. 

The officer was wounded during a shootout in Georgensgmünd on Wednesday. 

Three other special task force officers were injured as they raided the residences of the 49-year-old man to secure licensed weapons he had been deemed unfit to handle. The man, who is a member of the far-right "Reichsbürger" movement, opened fire on the officers. He was apprehended shortly afterwards.

One of the other officers remains in severe condition. The other two sustained only minor injuries.

The suspect was a hunting enthusiast and had legally purchased his firearms, but police had recently decided he should no longer be permitted to keep them. The shootout ensued as they went to seize the weapons. 

"Citizens of the Reich"

The far-right "Reichsbürger" group - which translates as "Citizens of the Reich" - denies the existence of the present-day Federal Republic of Germany, asserting instead that the German empire continues to exist within its pre-World War II borders. 

Germany, they maintain, remains occupied and is being exploited by the allied forces. 

The national interior ministry estimates that the number of group members is only in the triple digits. However, they say it may also boast a high number of sympathisers. 

Berlin's state intelligence service described the movement in a recent report as "an extremely diverse range of small groups and individuals who believe in an ideological mixture of conspiracy theories, anti-Semitic and anti-democratic views, and who have been behaving increasingly aggressively for some time."

However, Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann warned on Wednesday against dismissing the group as an "association of crackpots." Political parties have also warned against underestimating the group's capacity for violence. Politicians and law enforcement officials say that many members could be radicalized right-wing extemists. 

dm/msh (dpa, AFP)