Gunman kills parents and four others in Germany

German forensic policemen walk near a house where a shooter killed six people in Rot am See in southwestern Germany. (AFP)
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Updated 24 January 2020

Gunman kills parents and four others in Germany

  • The shooter launched the attack in the town of Rot am See near Heidelberg
  • Police have been able to confirm that two of the dead were the suspect’s father and mother

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany: A 26-year-old man is believed to have shot dead his mother and father and four other people in a town in southwest Germany on Friday, police said, leaving two others seriously wounded.
The suspect “called the police station in (nearby town) Aalen at 12:48 p.m. (1148 GMT) to inform them he had shot several people,” police chief Reiner Moeller told reporters in a press conference hours after the killings in Rot am See, near Baden-Wuerttemberg state capital Stuttgart.
The young man stayed on the line, and when the first officers arrived minutes later at the hotel where the shooting took place, they immediately arrested him outside.
“They were then able to identify six dead people both inside and behind the building,” Moeller said, including three men aged 36, 65 and 69 and three women aged 36, 56 and 62.
Images from the scene showed large numbers of emergency vehicles and heavily armed officers sealing off the area with red and white police tape.
Meanwhile forensics teams dressed in white coveralls moved in to secure evidence.
Two survivors of the attack are receiving medical treatment, with one of them “in danger for his life,” police chief Moeller said.
The shooter had also threatened two children aged 12 and 15, leaving them shaken but unharmed.
Investigators have so far been unable to discover anything about the motive of the suspect, saying he would be questioned only when his lawyer arrived at the police station.
So far the police have been able to confirm only that two of the dead were the suspect’s father and mother.
“We are still clarifying the other relationships” between the group, Moeller said.
The perpetrator himself, a German citizen, lived in the hotel along with some of the victims, near the station in the town of 5,200 people.
German media had earlier reported that the group had met in the hotel for a family gathering, but police have so far been unable to confirm this.
Investigators say the crime was committed with a semi-automatic handgun, for which the suspect held a license for sport shooting.
The weapon was found inside the building after officers arrested the 26-year-old man.
While owning firearms is not illegal in Germany, most guns can be acquired only with a license and they are closely monitored, making mass shootings comparatively rare.
In October last year, a far-right attacker shot two people dead in the eastern city Halle, wounding several more after failing to break into a packed synagogue armed with home-made weapons.
In July 2016, a teenager used a pistol bought illegally online to kill nine people in a Munich shopping center, before turning the weapon on himself.
Germany has also been the target of a number of jihadist attacks in recent years, although most of the perpetrators did not use guns.
The most deadly took place in December 2016, when Tunisian Anis Amri drove an articulated truck into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people.

Pakistan shuts schools, suspends Iran flights to curb coronavirus spread

Updated 24 min 30 sec ago

Pakistan shuts schools, suspends Iran flights to curb coronavirus spread

  • Latin America sees its first confirmed case of coronavirus in Brazil
  • Two countries in Europe - Estonia and Germany - have announced on Thursday their first cases of the virus

ISLAMABAD/RIO DE JANEIRO: Pakistan on Thursday shut schools in several areas and suspended flights to and from Iran to try to stop the spread of new coronavirus, after reporting its first cases of the infection, officials said.
The South Asian nation bordering China and Iran, both of which have been hit hard by the virus, reported its first two cases on Wednesday.
Both people had recently travelled to Iran as part of large groups of pilgrims from Pakistan’s Shi’ite Muslim community. Health officials have said both were “stable.”
In Britain, the number of coronavirus infections has risen to 15 cases. Elsewhere, two countries in Europe - Estonia and Germany - have announced on Thursday their first cases of the virus.
Latin America meanwhile saw its first confirmed case of the new coronavirus spreading worldwide when Brazil’s government announced that a 61-year-old man who traveled to Italy this month had the virus.
The Brazilian man had spent two weeks in northern Italy’s Lombardy region on a work trip, where he contracted the contagious virus, the Health Ministry said Wednesday.
“Our health care system has already undergone grave respiratory epidemics before,” Brazil’s Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said in a press conference. “We will get through this situation, investing in science, research and clear information.”
Since the COVID-19 virus began to spread throughout the world from China, Brazil and other countries in the region have registered dozens of suspected cases, all of which previously had been discarded following tests.
According to Brazil’s Health Ministry, the man began to show symptoms compatible with the illness, such as a dry cough, throat pain and flu symptoms. Lombardy is the center of the outbreak in Italy, and there have been hundreds of confirmed cases there as well as several deaths.
Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein Institute, where the man received medical attention, carried out respiratory tests, and the Adolfo Lutz Institute in the same city carried out the subsequent test confirming the virus The man was in stable condition and in isolation at home in Sao Paulo.

Brazil’s national health agency Anvisa has been working to map all contact the man had with others, and on Tuesday requested the manifest of the flight he took to investigate other possible cases.
The Health Ministry said that the man received some 30 family members at his home after returning to Sao Paulo on Feb. 21. Those people are under observation, as are with passengers from the plane.

In Sydney, Australia’s prime minister said the country considered the new coronavirus to be a pandemic Thursday, going a step beyond the WHO as he extended a travel ban on visitors from China.

Announcing a national emergency response plan to the contagion, Scott Morrison said he was considering “additional measures” for monitoring travelers arriving in the country.

“We’re effectively operating now on the basis that there is one — a pandemic,” Morrison said. “We believe the risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us.” Australia has reported 22 infections, but none that were contracted or passed from person-to-person inside the country.

Morrison’s warning comes as he scrambles to burnish his leadership credentials after fierce criticism of his handling of the months-long bushfire crisis. His government is also embroiled in a deepening political scandal over the funneling of taxpayer money into areas his coalition targeted in last year’s election.

Meanwhile, South Korea reported 171 more cases of the new virus on Thursday, bringing its total number of infections to 1,766.