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Sunday funeral for victims of Winnenden school rampage
The school rampage left 16 dead, including the gunman.Image: AP

Parents Speak Out

March 18, 2009

In an open letter, the parents of the 17 year old youth who went on a shooting spree that shocked Germany last week, express their sorrow. Tim K., who shot dead 15 in the attack, had been treated for depression.


The parents of Tim K., the 17 year old who killed 15 people before turning his father's pistol on himself in a police shootout that shocked Germany last Wednesday, have spoken out in public for the first time.

In an open letter addressed to the victims, the parents and sister said they had never imagined that Tim could be capable of gunning down 12 pupils and teachers at his former school. He also shot a psychiatric worker at the clinic where he was once treated for depression and two bystanders who got in the way as he was fleeing the scene of the crime.

"We keep asking ourselves over and over again how this could happen? Why didn't we notice his despair and hatred?" they said in the letter.

Home of German teen killer in Winnenden near Stuttgart
The family home near Stuttgart in southwest Germany.Image: AP

"We were a completely normal family"

"Until this terrible event we were a completely normal family," they wrote. "We never thought Tim capable of something like this and knew him as a different person."

The parents had apparently not known that their son was being treated for depression as an outpatient at a psychiatric clinic in the small southwestern town of Winnenden, where the fatal school shooting took place. Through their lawyer, who spoke to the German magazine Focus over the weekend, they denied he had received any treatment whatsoever.

Prosecutors investigating the case argue that Tim K.'s depression was a ground for relieving him from Germany's compulsory military service. They said he had started treatment at the Winnenden clinic, but did not follow through with it.

Father being investigated

9mm Beretta pistol used for the attacks
The Beretta pistol used in the attack had not been locked away.Image: AP/Reproduktion: Daniel Roland

The family statement was released on Tuesday, a day after prosecutors said they were investigating Tim's father on involuntary manslaughter charges for failing to keep the Beretta pistol used in the attack safely locked away. A member of a gun club, Tim K.'s father had an arsenal of 15 firearms. Fourteen of them were locked up in accordance to the German law, but prosecutors say the 9 mm. Beretta was not.

"The most valuable and important thing, a beloved person, was taken from you by the horrible and incompressible act of our son and brother," the letter said.

"We are shocked and stand crying and silent before this incomprehensible tragedy. We want to express our deepest sympathy to the victims, family and friends. All of our thoughts are with those afflicted in body and spirit," the letter continued.

Prosecutors in Stuttgart have also released the preliminary results of an autopsy which confirmed that Tim died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in a shootout with the police. He had also been struck by two police bullets to one of his legs.

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