Wed, Mar 18, 2009 - Page 6 News List

Probe turns to German gunman’s father: police

AFP , BERLIN

German prosecutors launched an investigation on Monday into the father of Tim Kretschmer, the 17-year-old who shot dead 15 people last week, on suspicion of manslaughter, police and prosecutors said.

Kretschmer’s businessman father legally kept more than a dozen weapons at his house, one of which — a 9mm Beretta pistol — was used to deadly effect by his son in and around the town of Winnenden last Wednesday.

Prosecutors said they had launched the investigation because the father had kept the gun in his bedroom — the others were locked up — despite indications that he knew his son to be suffering from depression.

“As a result there is an initial suspicion of manslaughter,” police spokesman Nick Brenner said.

Police spokeswoman Renate Roesch said the 17-year-old had stated in a medical form for military service in December that he had suffered from depression that year.

The interior minister of the state where the killings took place said last week that Kretschmer may have opened the combination lock on the cabinet containing the other guns — and taken out the bullets used in the massacre.

Joerg Kretschmer, who owns a local packaging firm, faces up to five years in prison if convicted of manslaughter.

Last Wednesday, Kretschmer, dressed in black combat gear, began his rampage at his former school in southwestern Germany.

He shot dead eight girls, one boy and three female teachers at the school, killed a passer-by outside a psychiatric clinic where he had been due to receive treatment, hijacked a car and shot two others at a car dealership.

He died in a shootout with police about 30km from the school. Police believe he shot himself.

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