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.


New Zealand records 100 days without domestic virus case but warns against complacency

Updated 09 August 2020

New Zealand records 100 days without domestic virus case but warns against complacency

  • New Zealanders have returned to normal life, but authorities are concerned that people were now refusing testing
  • New Zealand has 23 active cases in managed isolation facilities, and 1,219 COVID-19 cases in all so far

WELLINGTON: New Zealand marked 100 days without a domestic transmission of the coronavirus on Sunday, but warned against complacency as countries like Vietnam and Australia which once had the virus under control now battle a resurgence in infections.
New Zealand’s successful fight against COVID-19 has made the Pacific island nation of 5 million one of the safest places in the world right now.
New Zealanders have returned to normal life, but authorities are concerned that people were now refusing testing, not using the government contact tracing apps, and even ignoring basic hygiene rules.
“Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone, however, as we all know, we can’t afford to be complacent,” Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said.
“We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can re-emerge and spread in places where it was previously under control, and we need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand,” he said.
New Zealand has 23 active cases in managed isolation facilities, and 1,219 COVID-19 cases in all so far.
Vietnam, which went for three months without detecting any domestic transmission, is now racing to control a new outbreak in Danang.
Neighbouring Australia’s second-biggest city, Melbourne, has gone into a six week lockdown due to a surge in cases. The second wave of cases in Melbourne has been largely a result of lapses in quarantining.
“For countries like Australia and New Zealand the source of such outbreaks is likely to be from managed isolation and quarantine facilities because of the large numbers of people held there and the multiple shifts of staff involved in looking after them,” said Michael Baker, Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago.
There have been cases of returning New Zealanders sneaking out of quarantine, and other security slip ups.
New Zealand last week ramped up testing at quarantine facilities and clinics, and started work on technology to track people using Bluetooth technology.
Ardern kicked off her re-election campaign on Saturday calling it a ‘Covid election’.
But a resurgence of cases due to “Covid fatigue” could spark a backlash against her, and give the opposition a chance to work their way back into the election contest. (Repotring by Praveen Menon; Editing by Michael Perry)