Germany has once again been shocked by a shooting involving schoolchildren. In Offenburg, a fifteen-year-old boy shot a fellow student in the head on Thursday. The victim of the same age died in hospital.
The shooter entered his classroom armed, walked up to his classmate and fired. “The perpetrator was able to be held by a person who happened to be present until the police arrived,” the German authorities announced afterwards.
To be on the safe side, the 180 students at the school in the southern German city had to remain in their classrooms while police searched the building and four police helicopters hovered in the air. The police are still investigating the cause, but for the time being they assume a ‘personal motive’.
Earlier this week, police in Hamburg feared a similar incident. People were spotted at a school, probably with a gun. Two boys aged twelve and sixteen had threatened a teacher. It was only hours after they had fled and the school had been cleared by a platoon of officers that the police were able to arrest the duo. It turned out they used a toy gun. Last week, three teenagers murdered a homeless man in North Rhine-Westphalia. The trio assaulted the man, filmed the act, stabbed him to death and were arrested a short time later.
Fatal violence among minors has recently increased in Germany. According to figures from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the number of assaults by teenagers between the ages of fourteen and eighteen has increased by a third in the past year. Compared to 2019, before the pandemic, the number of assaults actually decreased. Serious assaults, together with manslaughter and murder, concerned more than 26,000 cases in that age category last year. Before that there were over 20,000. In 2019, almost 24,000 violent incidents took place.
According to the BKA, only murder, manslaughter and death at will occurred in 198 cases in that age category last year. There are approximately thirty million weapons in circulation in Germany. Shootings occurred regularly at schools, such as in Winnenden near Stuttgart. Tim K. (17) shot twelve fellow students there in 2009. Earlier, in 2002, Robert S. killed sixteen students in Erfurt, East Germany.