March 11, 2009

A shooting rampage has left at least ten dead and many wounded in at the Albertville Realschule school near Stuttgart, Germany.

Deutsche Welle:

At least 10 people were killed on Wednesday when a gunman fired shots at a secondary school in southwestern Germany, a regional government official said. "We have to assume a death toll in the double-digits," a spokeswoman for the interior ministry in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said. "These are students."

The incident took place at 9.30 am local time at the Albertville school in Winnenden, a town of 27,600, near Stuttgart in southwestern Germany.

German media said the gunman, dressed in a black camouflage suit, was a 17-year-old former student at the school.  Police, rescue workers and fire fighters were at the scene and helicopters circled the town. The school has been evacuated.

A breaking report from AFP says the suspect has been arrested.

This tragedy will come as a shock to most in the United States, as our media treat rampages by gunmen as a uniquely American phenomenon made possible only by our lax firearms laws.  In fact, as the DW report notes, "The Winnenden incident hooting is the latest in a spate of school shootings in Germany in recent years."

An AP report provides a timeline of previous school shooting incidents:

Sept. 23, 2008: Matti Saari, 22, killed nine fellow students and a teacher before shooting himself at a vocational school in Kauhajoki, Finland.

Feb. 14, 2008: Former student Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opens fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, fatally shooting five students and wounding 18 others before committing suicide.

Nov. 7, 2007: Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, shoots and kills eight people and himself at a high school in Tuusula, Finland.

April 16, 2007: Cho Seung-Hui, 23, fatally shoots 32 people in a dorm and a classroom at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, then kills himself in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Nov. 20, 2006: Sebastian Bosse, 18, goes on a rampage at his former high school in Emsdetten, Germany, near the Dutch border, shooting and injuring four students and the school janitor. Police commandos later found Bosse dead.

April 26, 2002: Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, previously expelled from a school in Erfurt, Germany, kills 13 teachers, two former classmates and a policeman, before committing suicide.

April 20, 1999: Students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold open fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before committing suicide in the school's library.

March 13, 1996: Thomas Hamilton, 43, killed 16 kindergarten children and their teacher in Dunblane, Scotland, and then killed himself.

A quick count will show only nine incidents in thirteen years, including this morning's -- all tragic, of course, but hardly an epidemic.    Of those three each were in Germany and the United States, two in Finland, and one in Scotland.

UPDATE:  AP now reports that sixteen people were killed, including the gunman. Additional details:

He killed nine students and three teachers, apparently singling out female victims. Eight of the students were girls and all three teachers were women.

[...]

The gunman killed a male passerby outside the building before forcing his way into the backseat of a car and making the driver head south, according to Stuttgart prosecutors, who are leading the investigation. Police launched a land and air manhunt. When the driver swerved off the road at a police checkpoint, he managed to escape.

The suspect, identified only as Tim K., ran into an industrial area in the town of Wendlingen with police in pursuit. He entered an auto dealership, shooting and killing a salesman and a customer, both men, and went back outside, prosecutors said.  The guman opened fire at police vehicles in front of the auto dealership, prosecutors said. "A gunbattle ensued between the 17-year-old and the many police," the prosecutors' office said in a press release. "According to our current information, the 17-year-old then shot himself."

James Joyner is managing editor of the Atlantic Council.

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