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Student gunman kills one and injures three in German lecture hall before shooting himself dead

A student today opened fire during a lecture at a German university, killing a woman and injuring three other people, before shooting himself dead.

The unidentified man is believed to have been carrying several rifles in a backpack when he went on the rampage inside a lecture hall at Heidelberg University in southwestern Germany.

The lone gunman shot four people leaving one in critical condition before turning the weapon on himself according to Bild.

The newspaper later reported that a female victim, who was shot in the head by the attacker, had succumbed to her injuries. 

Specialist SEK commando units and police officers swarmed Neuenheimer Feld, an area of the Heidelberg which consists mostly of university buildings.  

Investigators said the gunman had no political or religious motives for the shooting. 

Pictures showed police examining a shotgun at the scene with a backpack and another weapon on the ground in front of them.

Police vehicles are parked on the grounds of Heidelberg University in Heidelberg, Germany, on Monday following the shooting

Pictures showed police examining a shotgun at the scene with another weapon on the ground in front of them

Pictures showed police examining a shotgun at the scene with another weapon on the ground in front of them

Members of the SEK stand by a vehicle on the campus of Heidelberg University in Heidelberg on Monday

Members of the SEK stand by a vehicle on the campus of Heidelberg University in Heidelberg on Monday

Police officers secure traces on the grounds of the Heidelberg University on Monday

Police officers secure traces on the grounds of the Heidelberg University on Monday

The university’s natural science facilities and parts of the university hospital are mainly located at Neuenheimer Feld.   

In a statement, Mannheim Police Department said: ‘Four people, some seriously injured, currently there is no longer any danger, the perpetrator is dead – it is assumed that the perpetrator was a lone wolf.’

They had In an earlier said they were involved in a ‘large-scale operation in Neuenheimer Feld’ and that ‘a single perpetrator injured several people in a lecture hall with a long gun.’

‘The perpetrator himself is dead. Colleagues are still on site with strong forces – we will provide further information here!’

The police urged drivers to bypass Neuenheimer Feld so that rescue workers and emergency services could travel freely and respond to the shooting. 

‘We are incredibly shocked. This is a catastrophe that eludes everything conceivable between lectures, exams and university life,’ Peter Abelmann, chairman of the student body at the university told Bild. 

A man, armed with a long-barrelled gun, shot multiple people at the university in the town of Heidelberg, southwestern Germany , police said

A man, armed with a long-barrelled gun, shot multiple people at the university in the town of Heidelberg, southwestern Germany , police said

A bullett is pictured at the crime scene on the campus of the University in Heidelberg

A bullett is pictured at the crime scene on the campus of the University in Heidelberg

An armoured police vehicle is parked next to a police car at the University of Heidelberg campus after the attack

An armoured police vehicle is parked next to a police car at the University of Heidelberg campus after the attack

A member of the SEK stands by a vehicle on the campus of Heidelberg University in Heidelberg on Monday

A member of the SEK stands by a vehicle on the campus of Heidelberg University in Heidelberg on Monday

The University of Heidelberg’s press office declined to give any details on the incident and referred all queries to police. 

Germany’s Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said his thoughts were with the victims, as he thanked emergency services for their deployment.

A history of Heidelberg University 

Heidelberg University – also known as Ruperto Carola – was founded in 1386, making it Germany’s oldest university and one of the country’s best-known. 

In 1386, Ruprecht I, Elector Palatine, received the Pope’s permission to establish the university in his residential city of Heidelberg. 

During the 17th and 18th centuries, in a period of religious and political upheaval in Germany, the university suffered a decline in prestige. 

But in the early 19th century, Heidelberg University was able to win favour again and was widely celebrated not only for its high level of research but also for its commitment to democratic ideals and liberality. 

Heidelberg University supported Adolf Hitler when he came to power in 1933, as did the other universities in Germany, and dismissed many of its staff and students for racial and political reasons. 

Following WWII, the university underwent a shift in its views. In the mid-1960s, Heidelberg became a mass university which saw its student population triple by 2021. 

Its reputation has since become world-renowned, with 33 Nobel Prize winners coming from the university.   

Heidelberg is a picturesque university town in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and home to a population of around 160,000 people.

Heidelberg University, founded in 1386, is Germany’s oldest university and one of the most prestigious in Europe.

The university’s Neuenheimer Feld campus, on the northern bank of the Neckar river, hosts natural sciences departments and part of the university clinic as well as a botanical garden.

Students were told to keep away from the campus in an email from the university as news of the shooting broke, local broadcaster SWR reported.

The university only resumed in-person classes in October after months of distance learning because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Students have to show they are vaccinated against Covid, recovered or in possession of a recent negative test if they want to enter university buildings. 

Germany has been hit in recent years by a spate of attacks, mostly perpetrated by jihadists or far-right militants.

School shootings however are relatively rare in Germany, a country with some of the strictest gun laws in Europe.

In 2009, a former pupil killed nine students, three teachers and three passers-by in a school shooting at Winnenden, also in Baden-Wuerttemberg. The gunman then killed himself.

In 2002, a 19-year-old former student, apparently in revenge for having been expelled, gunned down 16 people including 12 teachers and two students at a school in the central German city of Erfurt. He too then killed himself.

Both massacres were carried out with legal weapons and spurred Germany to tighten its gun laws.

The country currently requires anyone younger than 25 to pass a psychiatric exam before applying for a gun licence.

In another incident in 2016, nine people were killed when gunman David Ali Sonboly went on a rampage in a shopping centre in Munich.

The shooting sparked renewed debate about whether Germany should place further curbs on gun ownership.   


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