Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

How German school shooting unfolded

Germany Map

The teenage gunman who went on a shooting rampage in a school in southern Germany killed 15 people before dying in a shoot-out with police.

0930 (0830 GMT), 11 March: The 17-year-old, named locally as Tim Kretschmer, walks into his former school Albertville-Realschule [1] in Winnenden.

I look at the door and there stands a man with a gun in his hand and he just shoots everywhere

Dressed in black, he starts shooting, killing nine students, eight of them female, and three teachers. Police say he aimed at his victims' heads, which suggests it was not just indiscriminate shooting.

"I heard two shots and then screaming," said a student named only as Betty, 15. "At first I thought it was a joke, but then someone called "Run, run" and I saw students jumping out of the windows and took off running."

Another student, Celina, described the terror inside one classroom.

"We were having a normal German lesson. At once we hear "pam pam pam" and I look at the door and there stands a man with a gun in his hand and he just shoots everywhere.

"I threw myself on the floor and took my friends with me, and then I went to a corner and put a table in front of me, and he came again a second time and shot again, and we were in panic and in shock."

The German Bild daily newspaper reports that the gunman enters the class a third time, asking: "Aren't you all dead?"

0933: Police receive an emergency call from a terrified pupil at the school amid scenes of panic.

Minutes later, the first police officers enter the school building. They can still hear shots being fired and confront the gunman on the first floor, drawing fire themselves.

Kretschmer flees the building, leaving some ammunition at the school. He passes a nearby psychiatric clinic and shoots dead an employee and injures a passerby.

0940: Other officers arrive at the school to find the victims' bodies in two classrooms.

Ambulances outside the school
Police say the gunman may have planned on killing more

Regional police director Ralf Michelfelder said: "Children were sitting at their tables, with pencils still in their hands, their heads fallen over on the table. Most of them had shots in their head - it must have all happened in seconds."

Bystander Hans Ulrich Stuiber described the scenes of anguish outside the school as parents waited for news.

"Some were struck dumb, others were crying and a few had fainted," he told AFP.

Police mobilise hundreds of officers, including dog and helicopter teams to try to locate the gunman. The school is evacuated and searched and roadblocks set up.

1000: Police commandos storm Kretschmer parents' home in Leutenbach [2], 12km (7.5 miles) from the school.

1114: Local media broadcast warnings to drivers not to pick up hitchhikers.

1204: Kretschmer hijacks a car in Winnenden [3], forcing the driver to head south. Police say he gets stuck in traffic, but makes the driver turn around and head towards Wendlingen, 40km [25 miles] away.

The car driver swerves off the road to avoid a police checkpoint and manages to escape and alert the police. The gunman continues on foot towards an industrial estate in Wendlingen [4].

He enters a car salesroom and shoots dead a salesman and a customer.

Bulletholes in car showroom
The gunman died after a shoot-out at a car salesroom
1230: Kretschmer exchanges fire with plain-clothed officers. As he tries to escape through the car park he is hit in the leg, falls down but manages to get up and reload his gun [5]. Two officers are injured in the shoot-out.

Witness Vjeran Kuran was working nearby:

"By accident I took a look out of the window and then I have seen a lot of police cars. And suddenly, I've heard them shooting, too."

Kretschmer is found dead a short time later - police say witnesses saw him shoot himself

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific