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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


16 dead
He was killed in a shootout with police at a car dealership roughly 30 km (20 miles) from the school. Two passers-by died in the shootout and two policemen were seriously wounded, bringing the total death toll to 16 including the gunman.

Several school shootings have shocked Germany in past years. In 2006, a masked man wearing explosives and brandishing rifles opened fire at a school in the western town of Emsdetten, wounding at least 11 people before committing suicide.

In April 2002, Germany suffered its worst school shooting when a gunman killed 17 people, including himself, at a high school in the eastern city of Erfurt.

Alabama shooting copycat?
Wednesday's shooting followed a rampage in the United States on Tuesday in which a gunman shot dead 10 people then killed himself in southern Alabama.

Joachim Kersten, from the police academy in Muenster western Germany, suggested on N24 television that the news of the Alabama shooting might have encouraged the gunman in Germany.

"For someone on the verge of (wanting to commit such an act), there's nothing more appealing than such pictures," Kersten said. "Such people...are very interested in the media description of such events," he said, referring to the images of the Alabama shooting spree.

At least 10 people including the suspected gunman have been killed in a shooting spree across two towns in Alabama.
The gunman shot at least nine people before taking his own life, the Public Safety Department said in a statement.

"This is a very complicated investigation that is unfolding," it added.

Initially four adults and a child were found shot dead inside a residence in the town of Samson.

The killer, who has not been identified, gunned down another individual at Samson Pipe and Supply, firing at a state trooper's vehicle on the way.

He apparently killed another victim at a service station before heading to Reliable Metal Products where he "fired an estimated 30-round burst."

The local police chief was grazed by a bullet but escaped serious injury because he was wearing a bullet-resistant vest.

The gunman entered the facility and "within minutes" shots were heard from inside.

Law enforcement officers found him dead from they believed were "self-inflicted gunshots," the statement said.

Police are also investigating a fire at a nearby house where an 11th body was recovered.

Reports have suggested the fire could be at the home of the gunman's mother.

Several other people were wounded during the shooting spree. Police say they do not yet know what sparked it.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 11 (Reuters) - Authorities grappled on Wednesday for the reason a 27-year-old Alabama man shot dead 10 people, including his mother, before killing himself after a gunbattle with police and a car chase down a rural highway.

Michael McLendon, who lived with his mother, killed five of his victims in Tuesday's shooting spree at a mobile home in Samson, in southeastern Alabama, according to a local coroner and Wynnton Melton, mayor of nearby Geneva.

The victims at the mobile home included the wife of a local deputy sheriff and her child. He also killed two people at a convenience store and a man in a pickup truck who died during a car chase as McLendon apparently fired at random, said Melton.

"We sent 11 bodies to Montgomery (the state capital)," said Robert Preachers, the coroner in neighboring Coffee County who said he knew most of the victims including the killer.

"He (McLendon) was a nice quiet kid, no trouble. He was always polite and nice," Preachers said. Asked about a possible motive, he said: "He carried it with him to the grave."

Rural southeastern Alabama, which borders Florida, is a largely agricultural area with many low-income families.

Mass shootings have become more frequent in the United States in recent years.

Guns are widely available for purchase in the United States, a country that prides itself on the right to own weapons for self defense and hunting.


The website of the Dothan Eagle newspaper quoted Coffee County District Attorney Gary McAliley as saying the gunman had been armed with both pistols and assault rifles.

The shooting spree began in Kinston, a small town in Coffee County, and continued to Samson, where McLendon killed his grandmother, uncle and others, said the FBI, local police and Preachers.

It ended after a car chase and gun battle in Geneva, the county seat about 12 miles (20 km) away, they said.

Describing the car chase, Melton said: "Officer Ricky Morgan rammed his car to distract him and was rewarded with a hail of bullets .... One bullet grazed the shoulder of police chief Frankie Lindsey."

A police officer in Geneva said the gunman "shot at several vehicles on the highway and then he shot at Wal-Mart and Piggly Wiggly," a grocery store.

McLendon also shot the family's dogs, Preachers said. "He killed her (his mother) and her dogs. He shot the dogs in the head. Then he piled them up and gassed them (poured gasoline on them and lit it). He laid the dogs next to her," he said.

In one of the worst recent shooting incidents, a gunman dressed as Santa Claus killed nine guests at a Christmas Eve party, before taking his own life in Covina, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.

On April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech, a university in Blacksburg, Virginia, became the site of the deadliest rampage in modern U.S. history when a student gunman killed 32 people and himself.

In Germany on Wednesday, a 17-year-old gunman went on a shooting spree at his former school in the southwest of the country, killing up to 15 people before dying in a shootout with police, authorities said.

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