German teen killer's Internet threat a hoax

13th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

But the news of the hoax did not stop police evacuating another school on Friday after an Internet threat.

Winnenden -- An Internet warning ascribed to a German teenage gunman who killed 15 people in a bloody rampage before turning the gun on himself was a fake, police and a state minister said.

But the news of the hoax did not stop police evacuating another school on Friday after an Internet threat. Other school shootings, including one in Germany in 2006, have been preceded by online warnings.

Heribert Rech, interior minister in the southwestern German state where Wednesday's bloodbath took place, admitted late Thursday that he had been taken in.

"Some crazy person obviously put out this dreadful false message," Rech was quoted as saying by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily. "It must have been made up afterwards."

The minister earlier publicised a chat room message in which 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer supposedly said he was going to his old school to "whip up a storm", naming the town -- Winnenden -- where it would take place.

"I have weapons here and tomorrow morning I will go to my old school," he was believed to have said.

"I have had enough of this crummy life... Always the same. People are laughing at me, no-one recognises my potential... You will hear about me tomorrow. Make note of the name of the place: Winnenden."

The supposed remarks were thought to have been part of a conversation with another 17-year-old, from Bavaria, who told his father about it after the shootings which left Germany in shock and made headlines around the world.

"I always made clear that I was referring to preliminary findings of the investigation. It must now be cleared up how the father of a 17-year-old could claim to have seen the entry," Rech said.

After analysing Kretschmer's computer, on which he had spent hours playing "shoot-em-up" video games, police said no trace had been found of the message, a spokesman for local police said.

The website in question,, said that the press had been "unfortunately fooled... by a forgery.

"No killing spree was announced here," it said. "Maybe he visited the site, but he definitely didn't write the post that went through the news, because that one never existed."

On Wednesday morning Kretschmer, dressed in black combat gear, went to the school armed with a handgun taken from his father's bedroom and more than 200 rounds of ammunition.

There he shot dead eight girls, one boy and three female teachers. He then killed a passer-by outside a psychiatric clinic where he had been due to receive treatment, hijacked a car and shot two others at a car dealership.

By this time hundreds of armed commandos were on his trail, some in helicopters, and Kretschmer died in a shootout with police around 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the school. Police believed he shot himself.

The picturesque town near Stuttgart was still in a state of shock on Friday, with people continuing to leave flowers and candles outside the Albertville secondary school, which remained closed.

For the second evening in a row, Winnenden's church was full to overflowing, with many watching the service outside on specially erected screens.

Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend a memorial service on March 21 in Winnenden, her spokesman said on Friday.

Families of the 15 people gunned down by Kretschmer, many expertly with shots to the head, paid a last visit to the hospital where the bodies were being held until burial.

Two policemen injured in Wednesday's car park shootout were still in hospital, as were three pupils from the school.

A grainy video clip apparently showing Kretschmer's last moments is currently doing the rounds on the Internet.

Meanwhile on Friday a school at Ilsfed, near Winnnenden, was evacuated after an Internet threat, local police spokesman Roberto Monaci told AFP. On Thursday there were several other warnings and at least one school was evacuated.

Police in the northern state of Lower Saxony arrested on Friday a 21-year-old man who, together with friends, had threatened on the Internet a school massacre, a police spokesman said.

The man said it was meant "as a joke."


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