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West Germans Shoot Two Escaped Inmates

June 9, 1986

HANOVER, West Germany (AP) _ Police wounded two prison inmates Monday night in a shootout hours after the convicts had escaped in a car with a woman social worker as hostage, authorities said.

The hostage was released unharmed moments before the shooting.

Moments after the unidentified, 31-year-old hostage was released near Rethem, 30 miles from this northern city, a squad car tailing the abductors rammed their escape vehicle, said police.

One policeman was hurt when he fell out of the squad car during the collision, a police spokesman said.

Police then opened fire on the convicts, critically wounding one in the stomach, a police spokesman said. The second escapee was hit in the leg.

Justice Ministry spokesman Helmut Moellring said the two inmates burst into the social worker’s office at the prison on Monday morning, took her hostage, barricaded themselves inside and threatened to detonate a bomb they had with them if their demands were not met.

They wanted a car, freedom and more than 1 million marks ($454,000).

There was no immediate word whether all the money was recovered.

Witnesses said the prisoners drove out through a prison side-door in a white Opel sedan supplied by prison authorities and headed toward downtown Hanover.

Moellring said the prisoners were allowed to leave because the priority was ″protecting the life of the hostage.″

He identified the two inmates as Gerhard Eggers, 33, serving a long sentence for manslaughter, and Hans-Dieter Nitsch, 42, held in investigative custody since May 1 for alleged aggravated assault.