13 Mar 2009

School slaughter announced on internet beforehand

10:03 am on 13 March 2009

Police in Germany have revealed that a teenage gunman who killed 15 people in the south-west of the country, warned of his plans several hours before on the internet.

Baden-Wurttemberg interior minister Heribert Rech says there was a chatroom conversation seven hours before Tim Kretschmer, 17, began killing teachers and pupils at his former school in the town of Winnenden, near Stuttgart, early on Wednesday morning.

He says other chatroom users who saw the messages did not believe they were genuine.

The entry was made in a conversation with another teenager from Bavaria who told his father about it after the shooting, was made at 2.45am. The killings began at around 9.30am.

Kretschmer was armed with a handgun taken from his father's bedroom and more than 100 rounds of ammunition.

He killed eight girls, one boy and three female teachers, mostly with shots to the head. He then hijacked a car and killed three bystanders at random.

Three hours later, he was dead after a manhunt ended in a shootout 30km away. State police chief Erwin Hetger said it was believed Kretschmer turned the gun on himself.

The Bild daily newspaper reports Kretschmer went into one classroom three times.

On the third visit he said to the class: "Aren't you all dead yet?"

A teacher threw herself in front of a female pupil and was shot.

Video of end

Amateur mobile-phone video apparently showing the killer's last moments have appeared on the internet.

The two-minute clip features on the websites of German television channel RTL and Bild.

It shows a figure wielding a gun in a car park amid shots from police.

The killer suddenly falls to the ground and is surrounded by dozens of police officers seconds later.

Police said earlier on Thursday that officers had cornered Kretschmer in a car park and shot him twice in the leg.