Hostage Drama Five Dead in Karlsruhe Slaying
In an act of crime unusual for its scope in Germany, five people died in a hostage drama that unfolded at a Karlsruhe home on Wednesday. The dead include a court bailiff apparently involved in an eviction that had been scheduled to take place at the apartment.
Five people died in a hostage drama in the city of Karlsruhe in southwestern Germany on Wednesday morning. A police spokesman confirmed that a 53-year-old hostage-taker killed four people before turning his gun on himself.
The hostage situation reportedly occurred at the time of a planned eviction in an apartment building in a neighborhood in the north of the city.
Officials said the perpetrator had been granted access to the apartment by a court bailiff and a locksmith, who he reportedly then took hostage. The man also killed the new occupant of the building, who later rang the doorbell, and the 55-year-old owner of the apartment, who was also the perpetrator's girlfriend. One social worker managed to escape without injury, according to wire reports.
Residents of the building notified the police after hearing apparent gun shots. Police then secured the scene of the crime and evacuated nearby buildings. Later, a police negotiating group sought to establish contact with the hostage-taker. After around three hours, special forces stormed the building and began discovering the bodies of the dead, all of whom had apparently been shot.
Planned 'Execution-Style' Killings
Investigators later in the day described the crime as planned, "execution-style" killings. The perpetrator reportedly came from the area.
"I am deeply shaken by the deaths of five people, among them a court officer for the Karlsruhe administrative court," said Rainer Stickelberger, who is the justice minister for the state of Baden-Württemberg, where Karlsruhe is located.
Police said a total of 200 officers had been deployed, including numerous special forces. "We are still in the dark about quite a bit," a police spokesperson said. The house where the crimes took place is located in a former complex where United States troops once resided.