A woman killed three people in a shooting rampage in the German city of Lörrach Sunday before being dead shot by police. She killed her former partner and five-year-old son in an apartment building before entering a nearby hospital. The woman's motives are unclear.
Four people were killed and several injured in a dramatic explosion and shooting incident on Sunday evening in the German city of Lörrach, located near the French and Swiss borders in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg.
The female perpetrator, who has not been identified, killed her former partner and their five-year-old son in an apartment building in the city center, according to the public prosecutor's office. Police said there was a large explosion in the building around 6 p.m. which was so powerful that a wall was blown out. The woman apparently also fired shots in the building.
It was not immediately clear if the man and the boy had been killed by the shots or by the explosion and accompanying fire. The woman, whose motives are still unclear, was said to be armed with a small-caliber handgun and a knife. Authorities said that the woman did not live in the building.
The woman then ran out of the building. One eyewitness reported seeing her load a gun on the street. She then headed for St. Elisabeth's Hospital, which is located on the same street as the apartment building. The woman shot a nursing assistant dead on the way to the hospital and injured two passersby outside the hospital building. One of the passersby was shot in the back, while the other was grazed on the head by a bullet.
According to an eyewitness, the woman entered the hospital and headed directly for the gynecology department on the second floor of the building. There, she stabbed a nursing assistant and injured a policeman. Police officers then shot the woman dead.
"Through their courageous intervention, the officers prevented an even worse tragedy," said the head of the Baden-Württemberg state police, Wolf Hammann, on Sunday evening. The whole incident lasted less than 40 minutes, he said.
Quick Response by Police
The fire department rescued six adults and one child from the burning apartment building after the explosion. A total of 15 residents had to be treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.
None of the injured people are in a critical condition, police said. Police plan to present the initial findings of their investigation to the media on Monday afternoon.
It is the second serious shooting incident in the state of Baden-Württemberg in less than two years. In March 2009, 17-year-old youth Tim K. killed 15 people and shot himself at his former school in the town of Winnenden.
According to a police spokesman, the police's emergency response plans, which were revised following the Winnenden shooting, helped prevent a greater tragedy on Sunday. All available police forces were sent to the hospital within the shortest possible space of time, the spokesman said.
dgs - with wire reports