KARLSRUHE, GERMANY (BNO NEWS) — Four people were killed on Wednesday after they were taken hostage by an unemployed man being evicted from his flat in southwestern Germany, police said. The gunman was later found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The hostage situation began at around 8 a.m. local time when a court bailiff and a locksmith arrived at a block of flats in the northern area of Karlsruhe, a city in Baden-Württemberg state near the border with France. The men had arrived there to carry out a planned eviction of a fifth-floor flat.
The 53-year-old gunman took his girlfriend and both men hostage after they were given access to the apartment. The new occupant of the flat, accompanied by a 55-year-old social worker, later also arrived at the building and rang the doorbell. The social worker was able to escape unharmed.
Neighbors of the gunman who heard gunfire called police, after which the nearby area was evacuated by security personnel. The hostage-crisis lasted around three hours as officials tried to contact the gunman. Police said around 200 officers, including special forces, were deployed at the scene.
German media reported that armed police stormed the apartment after a burning odor was perceived. Police then discovered the bodies of the four hostages and the hostage-taker, and initial reports indicate all of them died from apparent gunshot wounds. Two of the victims had their hands tied behind their backs.
Baden-Wüttemberg justice minister Rainer Stickelberger said he was ‘deeply shaken’ following the deadly hostage incident, which investigators believe had been planned by the man.
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