Having sworn revenge on the Internet, an 18-year-old stormed his former high school in Germany on Monday armed with guns and bombs and wounded 27 people before police found him dead and wired with explosives.
Four students aged 12 to 16 and the head caretaker at the school in Emsdetten, near the Dutch border, suffered gunshot wounds. Several of the injuries were serious, but none were life-threatening.
Another 20 people, mostly police officers who rushed to the scene, were hurt by smoke bombs detonated by the masked gunman. Witnesses and German media identified him as Sebastian Bosse, who had completed his studies in June.
The incident brought back memories of a shooting rampage in the eastern German city of Erfurt in 2002, when an alienated former pupil killed himself and 16 others, most of them teachers.
Police and students described the attacker as a misfit obsessed with violence and guns. He was due to go on trial yesterday after he was caught with a loaded pistol several months ago. His father collapsed after hearing what his son had done and was being treated in hospital.
"He seems to have been frustrated by a lack of meaning in his life," state prosecutor Wolfgang Schweer said. "It appears that he was a loner who decided on his own to do this."
Witnesses said the masked gunman parked his car nearby and opened fire as soon as he entered the schoolyard, wounding several people and sending students running in all directions.
The first patrol car arrived at the scene six minutes after a distress call from a school secretary, prompting the attacker to withdraw to the second floor, said Hans Volkmann, a senior police officer.
Heavily armed police searched the building room by room, evacuating four more terrified students. They found the assailant lying dead near two of his guns, a knife strapped to his leg.
Schweer said later on ZDF TV that the attacker was armed with four rifles. Police recovered his body in the evening after explosives experts defused three homemade pipe bombs on his body and five more in his backpack. Four more bombs were found in his car.
Volkmann said the man had been "wired" to some of the bombs. He said the assailant's face was "unrecognizable" because of serious injuries. He said the assailant's face was ``unrecognizable'' because of serious injuries, but that it was not clear if he had shot himself or was killed by one of his bombs. Police fired no shots, he said.
Bosse's Internet site showed him posing in military-style uniform and brandishing a gun. The site was inaccessible soon after the attack.
Bosse raged against politicians, the police and above all his teachers and fellow students for treating him as a ``loser.'' He said he had decided to take revenge and ``disappear from this life.''
"This revenge will be carried out so brutally and without quarter, that the blood will freeze in your veins," he wrote.