Unrequited love possible motive in church attack
5 April 2005, STUTTGART - A bloody samurai sword attack by a Sri Lankan man on a church congregation in Germany leaving one person dead and three seriously wounded was possibly rooted in unrequited love and a psychiatric illness, police in Stuttgart said on Monday.
5 April 2005
STUTTGART - A bloody samurai sword attack by a Sri Lankan man on a church congregation in Germany leaving one person dead and three seriously wounded was possibly rooted in unrequited love and a psychiatric illness, police in Stuttgart said on Monday.
The man, a 25-year-old ethnic Tamil, has been living in Germany since 1998 and registered as an asylum-seeker in the nearby town of Esslingen.
He was facing prosecution for previous misdeeds, said police, who ruled out a political motive.
They said the man purchased the sword used in the attack - killing a 43-year-old woman and seriously wounding two men and a woman - in early March in Stuttgart.
They also said the suspect was known to police for actions dating back to 2002 and 2003, including grievous bodily harm and issuing insults and threats.
Last January, Stuttgart prosecutors had filed various charges against the man, including illegal restraint, coercion, and weapons violations.
In Sunday's incident, the ethnic Tamil congregation of the Methodist church was meeting to discuss the effects of the tsunami catastrophe on Sri Lanka when the man stormed into the church with his sword and ran amok.
A statement by the Methodist church said that church-goers "were just about to be informed by eyewitnesses about the extent of the catastrophe and the first fruits of their support" when the attack took place.
Adding to the tragedy was the fact that among the victims of the attack were people who had lost relatives in the tsunami, it said.
Reports said that panic broke out during the attack, with worshippers using stools to defend themselves and others managing to escape.
Police arrested the man at the door of the church, subduing him with pepper spray when he refused orders to surrender.
Earlier, police said the seriously wounded victims were out of danger. One of the men had his hand severed in the attack. The other wounded man was the husband of the woman who was killed.
Police said that the man had made some threats in the church before Easter but nobody could foresee the bloodshed which occurred on Sunday.
Subject: German news