There was a killing spree at the University of Heidelberg. A student died as a result. Two employees of the institute narrowly escaped the shooter. The ticker for what’s happening.
- There was a killing spree at the University of Heidelberg on Monday (January 24). The perpetrator is said to have been an 18-year-old student.
- The perpetrator apparently bought the weapons in Austria (see update from January 26, 5:14 p.m.).
- This news ticker is continuously updated.
- You can read a summary of what is known so far about the killing spree at the University of Heidelberg here.*
Update from January 27, 10:10 a.m .: After the killing spree in Heidelberg, there is still horror, the 18-year-old killed a woman in the cruel act at the University of Heidelberg. More and more details about the crime are gradually coming to light, and it was only on Wednesday that the first information about the origin of the weapons became known (see update from January 26, 5:14 p.m.). As Bild now reports, the 18-year-old is said to have taken a taxi to the university on the day of the crime, and he transported the long guns in a sports bag in the trunk of the taxi.
The 18-year-old biology student apparently did not have a relationship with his victims. As picture now reports, there should be no evidence of a personal connection to the victims, a woman was killed in the killing spree – three other people were injured in the lecture hall.
After it became known on Wednesday that the gunman was listed as a young person by a right-wing extremist party (see update from January 26, 12.40 p.m.), there is no further evidence that the 18-year-old had been radicalized or had contacts with the right-wing spectrum could have had. The newspaper claims to have learned this, citing the public prosecutor’s office.
Rampage in Heidelberg: Weapon origin apparently clarified
Update from January 26, 5:14 p.m .: The Heidelberg gunman bought his murder weapons in Austria. About a week ago, the 18-year-old bought a total of three long guns there, two of which were found at the scene of the crime at Heidelberg University on Monday after the killing spree, police and prosecutors said on Wednesday. The third weapon was found in the room that the man had rented during his stay in Austria.
According to the current status of the investigation, he is said to have purchased the two weapons used in the crime in Heidelberg from an arms dealer and the third from a private individual in Austria. Whether the seller can be prosecuted is still open – but due to the different legal situation in Germany and Austria, this is difficult.
According to the new investigation results, the 18-year-old had even brought 150 rounds of ammunition with him for his crime, so far the police had spoken of around a hundred rounds. In fact, he fired three shots.
Update from January 26, 12:40 p.m.: What motivated the 18-year-old to do what he did at Heidelberg University? The exact motive for the crime still seems unclear, but more and more information about the background of the gunman is gradually coming to light (see update from January 26, 9.40 a.m.). As Zeit Online now wants to know from security circles, the 18-year-old is said to have had a connection to the neo-Nazi party The Third Way as a teenager. Investigators found his name on an older internal party list. As Zeit Online further reports, a spokesman for the party did not want to comment on this information for data protection reasons.
Update from January 26, 9.40 a.m .: The exact motive of the Heidelberg gunman is still unclear two days after the attack at the university, but there is now more and more information about the 18-year-old. The gunman studied biology and was born in Berlin. He had only lived in Mannheim for a few months. Shortly before his crime, the perpetrator wrote a clear message to his father, who is said to have informed the police (see update from January 25, 7:15 p.m.). As now picture reports, the gunman is said to have been sentenced as a 17-year-old with a juvenile sentence for bodily harm.
Rampage in Heidelberg: Students and lecturers in “shock mode”
Update from January 26, 6:52 a.m .: After the killing spree at the University of Heidelberg, the lecture hall will remain closed until the central funeral service on Monday. The affected faculty is temporarily suspending its face-to-face courses for students in the first semester.
“As a lecturer, I would also feel very strange if I had to go into a closed lecture hall now,” said the Dean of the Faculty of Biosciences, Jochen Wittbrodt, the dpa news agency. In higher semesters, minutes of silence and times for exchange are planned for courses.
Students and lecturers are “in shock mode” after the events. Nevertheless, a digital meeting of the faculty with more than 170 participants took place on Tuesday, and university rector Bernhard Eitel was also there. “Above all, we tried to inform the students and make them offers,” emphasized Wittbrodt. When it comes to psychological care, “no one should fall through the cracks”. A sense of proportion is now required for the upcoming tests, said Wittbrodt. An exam on Wednesday (January 26) was suspended, and there will be alternative dates for others.
Rampage in Heidelberg: Eyewitnesses report a dramatic encounter with the perpetrator
First report from January 25, 7:15 p.m.: On Monday afternoon (January 24), a man injured three people and killed a young woman in a rampage on the premises of Heidelberg University. The 18-year-old biology student came into the lecture hall with a side-by-side shotgun and a repeating rifle. He himself should have sat in the lecture hall, which, according to Jan Lohmann, director of the research center, was home to 30 freshmen. The perpetrator shot several times, then fled and took his own life on the outside of the university, according to police reports*. A 23-year-old student died as a result of a headshot, the three injured have since been released from the hospital.
Rampage in Heidelberg: 18-year-old shooter had previously announced the act in a WhatsApp message
According to previous knowledge, the act had no political or religious motives. The police did not rule out a targeted attack. According to the police, the alleged gunman from Heidelberg had more than 100 rounds of ammunition with him. It is not yet known why he stopped shooting, said the Mannheim police chief Siegfried Kollmar on Monday evening. Before the killing spree, the student had sent a WhatsApp message. At 12:32 p.m. on Monday, shortly after the first emergency calls were received by the police, the shooter’s father called the police in Heidelberg and reported a WhatsApp message from his son announcing the crime. It said, according to the information, “that people now have to be punished.”
The native of Berlin, who lived alone in Mannheim, should not have had a criminal record according to initial findings. How he got his hands on the guns is still being investigated. The perpetrator had probably only recently bought them abroad. A police investigation team called “Botanik” with 32 people is trying to clarify the background of the crime.
Rampage in Heidelberg: Two employees of the research center escaped the shooter
Two employees of the Heidelberg Research Center for Basic Biological Research (COS) may have narrowly escaped the gunman. The director of the Center for Organismal Studies, Jan Lohmann, described on Tuesday what had happened to his colleagues the day before: They were coming down the stairs to the foyer of the building when they heard a gunshot, which they initially attributed to construction work in the house. When they realized their mistake, they were only five or six meters away from the young man who had just emerged from the lecture hall.
The 18-year-old pointed the gun at the two men. They escaped unharmed. After the COS employees only heard shots in the distance, they dared to leave their offices to provide first aid in the lecture hall, Lohmann said. They had previously warned each other via the Slack messaging service.
Protection against rampages is difficult, said Lohmann. Admission checks at the beginning of a lecture or seminar could not prevent such a perpetrator – as happened in Heidelberg – from bursting into the middle of an event. As a registered student, the 18-year-old would have had the usual access options. If the perpetrator was already in the room, emergency plans could no longer work. Here you can read the course of events again in detail in Monday’s ticker.
After the killing spree: the police advise those affected to help – “They will not forget that for the rest of their lives”
After the killing spree at the university in Baden-Württemberg*, the German police union recommends those directly affected by the act to seek psychological care. “The students in the lecture hall were scared to death, they didn’t know how long the perpetrator would continue shooting,” said Ralf Kusterer, head of state of the dpa. He added, “They won’t forget that for the rest of their lives.”
In general, we do not report on suicides or suspected suicidal intent, lest such cases encourage potential imitators. Reporting only takes place if the circumstances receive special public attention. If you or someone you know is suffering from an existential life crisis or depression, please contact the telephone counseling service on: 0800-1110111. The Psychiatric Crisis Service for Munich and Upper Bavaria also offers help on 0180-6553000. Further information can be found on the website www.kundendienst-psychiatrie.de. (chd/dpa) *Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.
Headline list image: © Sebastian Gollnow