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Monday, November 1, 1999 Published at 14:24 GMT

World: Europe

Police end teenage killing spree

It took the police several hours to recover the victims

Police in southern Germany say a teenage gunman who opened fire from the family home on passers-by - killing two and wounding several others - also shot dead his sister before killing himself.

BBC News' Caroline Wyatt: "Germany shocked by the killing"
Police found the bodies of the 16-year-old and his 18-year-old sister when they stormed the apartment in the southern town of Bad Reichenhall.

The youth - who has been identified only as Martin P - barricaded himself inside his family's home with weapons and ammunition apparently belonging to his father.

The BBC correspondent in Berlin says the incident has shocked Germany where random shootings are a rare and where there are strict controls on gun ownership.

The confrontation began at lunchtime on Monday, when the teenager barricaded himself with several large-calibre weapons and a supply of ammunition in his home.

[ image: Police surrounded the building]
Police surrounded the building
The police assume that he had managed to break into his father's gun cabinet and taken several guns and rifles.

The teenager was shooting from a window at everything that moved, a police spokesman said.

A man and a woman on the street below were killed, and one victim was critically wounded.

The police immediately cordoned off a large area around the scene, and special police forces supported by armoured vehicles from the German army took up position, but did not fire any shots.

Unusual means of rescue

The shooting started shortly after 1200 local time (1100 GMT). It was more than five hours before police were able to pull three of the victims out of the field of fire.

[ image: Because of sniper fire the emergency services could not recover the victims for several hours]
Because of sniper fire the emergency services could not recover the victims for several hours
Police finally managed to rescue the victims using the armoured car of Bavarian Minister President Edmund Stoiber.

Mr Stoiber, who was in the area at the time of the incident, had sent his armoured BMW with his driver to the crime site in case it was needed, police said.

One of the seriously injured was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Salzburg, Austria.

Bavarian Interior Minister Hermann Regensburger oversaw the operation.

Police commandos finally stormed the apartment building at 1730 local time (1630GMT).

Friends and neighbours described the teenager as a "quiet" and "normal boy".

He had always had a fascination with guns, school friends said, and had bragged about his father's gun collection.

An exeptional case

This sort of incident is relatively rare in Germany, which has tight laws on gun ownership.

In May, a convicted rapist shot five people dead near the French-German border and wounded another 11 during a two-day rampage through three countries. He finally killed himself in a hotel in Luxembourg.

Commentators in the German media immediately drew comaparisons to the school killing in Littleton, Colorado, in April.

In this incident, two high school pupils killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before taking their own lives.

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