Troubled boy cleared of school-shooting plans
20 November 2007, Cologne, Germany - German police rejected accusations that they had let a troubled teenager kill himself after he was questioned over a shooting plot which he had already abandoned.
20 November 2007
Cologne, Germany - German police rejected accusations that they had let a troubled teenager kill himself after he was questioned over a shooting plot which he had already abandoned.
Police earlier claimed that 17-year-old Rolf B and another pupil planned to invade their school in the western city of Cologne on Tuesday armed with crossbows.
But prosecutors said B had no longer been contemplating any crime when he was called to the principal's office and interviewed by two police officers on Friday. B killed himself straight after by throwing himself under a tram.
The second pupil, aged 18, who was suspected of the "plot," was released Monday and will not be charged. He had volunteered to enrol in psychological counselling.
German television channel ran special reports Monday on school shootings, revisiting the agony of past massacres, as well as interviewing experts on how to avert such suicidal attacks.
But the police faced questions about their handling of a "plot" which the two youths gave up four weeks ago, and about why the 17-year-old was not escorted home to his mother or given counselling.
Prosecutor Alf Willwacher said the school had not been at risk of attack any more.
Logs from an internet community forum used by German schoolchildren showed the two youths had fantasized about a detailed plan of attack, but soon abandoned it.
The 17-year-old boy who died had resold his arrows and crossbow parts, and written in chat that he did not want to act alone. The youths had not contemplated using two non-lethal air guns, but had found out how to make petrol bombs.
Schoolmates noticed last week that B had posted pictures on the internet forum of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in the United States, in which two youths killed 13 people and themselves.
A police spokesman said B had assured the two officers at the school that he wanted to prevent any repeat of Columbine and would take the pictures off the web. He had not seemed suicidal.
Subject: German news