Killer: 'Aren't you all dead yet?'
Students at a German high school try to come to terms with school bloodbath.
Winnenden -- "Something bad has happened: My neighbour is lying on the ground -- I think she's dead," sobbed Ivo Pashak, 17, to his brother Hannes after the massacre in Germany that left more than a dozen people dead.
Hannes, 16, recalled getting the mobile phone call from his panicked brother, who survived Wednesday's shooting at the secondary school in Winnenden near Stuttgart.
"He told me there was blood everywhere and he was scared," said Hannes. "He also said he simply didn't understand what had happened."
The small German town of Winnenden, population around 27,000, was still trying to come to terms with the bloodbath, in which nine students ages 14 and 15 were murdered, along with three teachers and three passers-by.
"My brother was in the classroom where it happened," another unnamed person told German television. "He was sitting next to his girlfriend who was killed. His best friend was killed as well."
The slaughter began around 9:30 a.m., when Tim Kretschmer, a 17-year-old former student clad in black combat fatigues, burst into several classrooms, spraying bullets indiscriminately.
"The killer simply came into the classroom, pulled out his gun and started firing," said one witness. "One person saw someone shot in the head."
"He was constantly reloading his gun," police chief Konrad Gelden said.
Kretschmer went into classroom 10d three times, the Bild daily said on its website, hissing on the third visit: "Aren't you all dead yet?"
A teacher threw herself in front of a female pupil -- and was shot by the gunman, Bild said.
When police stormed into the school, they discovered the grisly toll: nine children -- eight girls and one boy -- and three female teachers had been mown down.
One teacher, hailed as a heroine, saved the lives of several students by locking a door that the gunman unsuccessfully tried to shoot open, according to the Tagesspiegel daily.
Hans Ulrich Stuiber, an onlooker, described the scenes of anguish and misery in front of the school, as parents sought desperately to contact their children inside.
"All teenagers have mobile phones and they quickly rang their parents," he said. "But after a few minutes, no one could get a signal."
Parents were kept away from the bullet-ridden school until well after the killer had gone on the run. "Some were struck dumb, others were crying and a few had fainted," Stuiber said.
Around 30 psychologists rushed to the scene, treating shocked parents and students alike. Three counselling centres were set up in classrooms but most of the students preferred to go home with their parents.
In the late afternoon, the town, bathed in weak sunlight, still seemed to be in a state of shock.
Only policemen in green uniforms were still on the streets, the commandos in black camouflage long since back in their barracks.
After the screams and police sirens that had broken the calm of this picturesque southern German town, there was only silence.