Gunman Takes 4 Hostages in Germany
Oct. 18, 2002
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WAIBLINGEN, Germany (AP) _ A teenage gunman took four youngsters hostage Friday at a school in southwestern Germany and demanded $1 million ransom, police said. SWAT teams surrounded the building.
About 100 students were in the Friedensschule, or Peace School, when a 16-year-old former student walked in and sat down in a second-floor computer room around 2:30 p.m., witnesses and police said. Minutes later, he stood up and pulled out a handgun, they said.
Students said he warned them to remain calm and then gave a mobile phone number to a teacher. He sent her and all but four students out of the room and made them close the curtains before calling police.
``He said, 'If you don't keep quiet something will happen,''' said Marc, an 11-year-old student.
With no shots fired, it was not clear whether the gun was loaded or a toy. Students said the gunman was able to enter unnoticed because it was fairly common for young people to sit down at unoccupied computers.
Police spokesman Thomas Keller described the hostage-taker as making ``a calm impression'' while talking with police. He demanded cash and a getaway vehicle during negotiations, Keller said.
The hostages were all sixth-graders, around 12 years old, he said.
Police said they hope to resolve the standoff at the grade 1-10 school just outside Stuttgart without violence.
``We will do everything we can to solve this peacefully, without using force. And for that negotiations with the suspect are needed,'' police spokesman Uwe Bieler told N24 television.
In April, a 19-year-old former student killed himself and 16 other people in an attack inside a school in Erfurt, in eastern Germany. Thirteen of the dead were teachers. In the outrage that followed, parliament passed a bill in June to tighten German gun laws.