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Tim KRETSCHMER

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Mass homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (17) - School shooting
Number of victims: 15
Date of murders: March 11, 2009
Date of birth: July 26, 1991
Victims profile: 11 women and 4 men
Method of murder: Shooting (9mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol)
Location: Winnenden, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself in the head the same day
 
 
 
 
 

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Tim Kretschmer (26 July 1991 – 11 March 2009) was a 17-year-old graduate of the Albertville Realschule in Winnenden, Germany, who committed the mass murder of 15 people and wounded nine others, including two policemen in the Winnenden school shooting. Kretschmer committed suicide after being cornered and shot in the legs by police officers. Tim was in internet active at Pseudonym JawsPredator1.

High School

Tim Kretschmer, a resident of Leutenbach (Stadtteil: Weiler zum Stein), the Albertville Realschule from which he graduated. from the neighboring municipality of Leutenbach, graduated from Albertville school in 2008 with relatively poor grades.

During school, Kretschmer was described as "a lonely and frustrated person who felt rejected by society." A former friend described Kretschmer as a quiet student who had begun to withdraw from peers.

Free time activities

He was an avid table tennis player and had planned on becoming a professional player. Kretschmer also enjoyed playing Counter-Strike and other first-person shooters, along with airsoft guns. He also shot his guns in the forest behind his home and also in the basement of his house. On his last day alive played online on internet Far Cry 2 as "JawsPredator1", he has profile at "MyVideo.de", Kwick.de and others.

Mental health

The press incorrectly reported that in 2008, Kretschmer had received treatment as an in-patient at a psychiatric clinic near the town of Heilbronn and that after being discharged, Kretschmer was supposed to continue his treatment as an out-patient in Winnenden, but broke it off. The parents solicitor refuted these claims.

Winnenden shooting and death

At approximately 09:30 (CET). Kretschmer opened fire at the Albertville Realschule from which he graduated. After killing seven students and a teacher, Police arrived. After a short shootout with police, Kretschmer fled the school.

After fleeing the school, Kretschmer confronted and killed a 56-year-old gardener in the park of a nearby psychiatric institution where he had received treatment in 2008.

At 12:04 he hijacked a Volkswagen Sharan minivan at a car park in Winnenden. From his position on the rear seat, the gunman ordered the driver to drive towards Wendlingen. Shortly before the Wendlinger junction to the A8 autobahn the hostage steered the car onto the grass verge and jumped from the vehicle towards a police patrol car.

Kretschmer left the car and ran towards a nearby industrial estate, entering a car showroom. He threatened a salesperson and demanded a key for one of the vehicles. The salesperson, however, managed to escape while the gunman was distracted. Kretschmer then shot and killed another salesperson and a customer, and allowed another salesperson and visitor to escape as he reloaded.

Kretschmer emerged at about 12:30 and shot at a passing car. Shortly afterwards, police began arriving and a shootout began. One officer fired 8 shots at the gunman, hitting him once in each leg.

The gunman returned to the car showroom, shooting at police from within the building. He then left the rear of the building and ran across a yard to a neighboring business complex, shooting and injuring two police officers in an unmarked police car.

According to police reports, at this point the gunman continued to fire at random, shooting at nearby buildings and people. Witnesses then describe observing the 17-year-old as he reloaded his pistol before shooting himself in the head.

His last moments up to and including the suicide were recorded on video with a mobile phone.

After the Shooting

Kretschmer did not have a police record.

On the day after the shooting, many press reports included a statement from the police that Kretschmer had announced his intentions on the Krautchan imageboard, an imageboard similar to the popular 4Chan imageboard, but aimed specifically at German speaking users. The posts were later determined to be forgeries.

 
 

The Winnenden school shooting occurred on the morning of 11 March 2009 at a secondary school in Winnenden in south-west Germany, followed by a shootout at a car dealership in nearby Wendlingen. The shooting spree resulted in 16 deaths, including the suicide of the perpetrator, 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer, who had graduated from the school one year earlier. Several people were injured.

The shootings

Locations of the incident within Germany[edit] Albertville school Tim Kretschmer opened fire with a 9mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol in the Albertville Realschule at approximately 09:30 a.m. (CET). Eyewitness reports state that Kretschmer started on the first upstairs floor where he made a beeline for two classrooms and a chemistry laboratory. In these two rooms Krestchmer killed 7 students and a female teacher. The BBC reports that he shot his victims in the head. The perpetrator fired more than 60 rounds at the school.

The school principal broadcasted a coded announcement, alerting the teachers of the situation and causing them to lock classroom doors. This coded alert had been worked out by German educators after the Erfurt school shooting of 2002.

After receiving an emergency call from a student at 09:33 a.m. local time, three police officers reached the scene two minutes later and entered the school, interrupting the shooting spree. Krestchmer shot at them and fled the building, killing two female teachers in the hall as he departed.

Escape and carjacking

The perpetrator fled the scene and murdered a 56-year-old gardener in the park of a nearby psychiatric institution.

Large numbers of police officers secured the school building and searched for the gunman throughout Winnenden for hours, without success.

At about 10:00, the gunman hijacked a Volkswagen Sharan minivan at a car park in Winnenden. From his position on the rear seat, the gunman ordered the driver to drive towards Wendlingen, 40 km (25 mi) from Winnenden. The journey first took the gunman and his hostage westwards into the suburbs of Stuttgart, the Baden-Württemberg state capital, travelling through the towns and districts of Waiblingen, Fellbach and Bad Cannstatt before driving on the B14 dual carriageway through the Heslach Tunnel onto the A81 autobahn (motorway) towards Böblingen and Tübingen. The two then drove onto the B27 dual carriageway before leaving on the B313 to Nürtingen. Shortly before the Wendlinger junction to the A8 autobahn the hostage steered the car onto the grass verge and jumped from the vehicle towards a police patrol car. It was shortly after 12:00.

Wendlingen shootout

The gunman immediately left the car and ran towards the nearby industrial area, entering a Volkswagen car showroom through the main entrance. Here he threatened a salesperson and demanded a key for one of the vehicles. The salesperson managed to escape while the gunman was distracted. The gunman then shot and murdered another salesperson and a customer, firing 13 bullets into the bodies. As he reloaded, another salesperson and visitor fled through the rear exit.

The gunman emerged at about 12:30 and shot at a passing car. The driver escaped without injury. The police started to arrive and a shootout began. An officer fired 8 shots at the gunman, hitting him once in each leg.

The gunman returned to the car showroom, taking 12 shots from within the building at police from nearby Nürtingen who were gradually surrounding the building. He then left the rear of the building and ran across a yard to a neighbouring business complex where he shot and injured two police officers in an unmarked police car.

According to police reports, at this point the gunman continued to fire at random, shooting at nearby buildings and people. Witnesses then describe observing the 17-year-old as he reloaded his pistol before shooting himself in the head. The final seconds of the shootout were captured with a cell phone video camera.

According to forensic evidence, during the whole shooting spree the gunman fired a total of 112 rounds.

Perpetrator

The perpetrator of the Winnenden school massacre was 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer (26 July 1991 – 11 March 2009), a resident of the neighbouring municipality of Leutenbach, and graduated from Albertville Realschule in 2008 with relatively poor grades.

His failing grades had prevented him from an apprenticeship so he attended a commercial high school (Donner + Kern) in Waiblingen as a preparation for an apprenticeship for a commercial career. Kretschmer was described by a friend as "a lonely and frustrated person who felt rejected by society". An anonymous friend described Kretschmer as a quiet student who began to withdraw from his peers.

He was an avid table tennis player and had hoped to become a professional player. Marko Habijanec, a Croatian table tennis player who coached Kretschmer at the Erdmannhausen sports club between 2000 and 2003, remembers him as being "a bit spoiled", his mother fulfilling many of his demands.

According to Habijanec, Kretschmer had great difficulties accepting defeat: he would have a temper tantrum, yelling and throwing his racket. Having a high opinion of his own abilities, Kretschmer openly denigrated his teammates. When Habijanec discussed Tim's attitude with his mother, he was at disbelief to discover her siding fully with her son.

Media reports say he enjoyed playing the video game Counter-Strike and playing with airsoft guns. However, commentators also noted that "game addiction is a symptom of something wrong and not a cause". He also shot his guns in the forest behind his home and also in the basement of his house. On his last day alive he played the video game Far Cry 2 online as "JawsPredator1".

He had profiles at "MyVideo.de", Kwick.de and other websites. He often played poker with his classmates in the "Cafe Tunix" after school hours in Waiblingen.

After inspection of his computer, officers found that he was interested in sadomasochistic scenes where a man is bound and humiliated by women. He also viewed such a movie the evening before the crime.

Kretschmer did not have a criminal record. The press reported that in 2008, Kretschmer had received treatment as an in-patient at the Weissenhoff Psychiatric Clinic near the town of Heilbronn and that after being discharged, Kretschmer was supposed to continue his treatment as an out-patient in Winnenden, but ended his treatment.

According to police and clinic staff, he had been treated repeatedly for clinical depression on an out-patient basis in 2008. His family rejected these claims and maintained that he never received psychiatric treatment. According to a psychiatric report prepared for the prosecutor's office, Kretschmer met five times with a therapist and talked about his growing anger and violent urges; the therapist then informed Kretschmer's parents.

In a press conference on March 12, police reported that Kretschmer had announced his killing spree several hours ahead of time on the Internet. The next day, police determined that this message had in fact not been written on Kretschmer's computer and was a forgery.

Three weeks before the shooting he had written a letter to his parents, saying that he was suffering and couldn't go on.

Victims

There were 15 victims, among them nine students:

  • Jacqueline Hahn, 16
  • Ibrahim Halilaj, 17
  • Franz Josef Just, 57 (worked at the psychatric hospital)
  • Stefanie Tanja Kleisch, 16
  • Michaela Köhler, 26 (Trainee teacher)
  • Selina Marx, 15
  • Nina Denise Mayer, 24 (Trainee teacher)
  • Viktorija Minasenko, 16
  • Nicole Elisabeth Nalepa, 17
  • Denis Puljic, 36 (worked in the car dealership in Wendlingen)
  • Chantal Schill, 15
  • Jana Natascha Schober, 15
  • Sabrina Schüle (Trainee teacher), 24
  • Kristina Strobel, 16
  • Sigurt Peter Gustav Wilk, 46 (Wendlingen victim)

Origin of the gun, indictment of the father

Police raided the Kretschmer family house at about 11:00 on the day of the shooting. Tim Kretschmer's father legally owned 15 guns as a member of a local marksmen club ("Schützenverein" in German). One 9 mm Beretta handgun was found missing along with several hundred rounds of ammunition. Fourteen of the guns were kept in a gun safe, while the Beretta had been kept unsecured in the bedroom.

Five days after the event, prosecutors initiated preliminary proceedings against the father for negligent homicide since the gun had not been properly locked away as required by law. The 14 remaining guns were confiscated, and the father announced that he would voluntarily relinquish his gun ownership authorization. In November 2009, the Public Prosecutor's Department in Stuttgart announced that the father had been indicted on charges of negligent homicide, bodily injury caused by negligence, and violation of the weapons law.

Response

Obituary issued by the state of Baden-Württemburg and published in the major local newspapers.German President Horst Köhler said he was "appalled and saddened" by the killings. Köhler and his wife expressed their condolences to the victims and their families and friends.

Chancellor Angela Merkel described the shootings as "incomprehensible". "It is unimaginable that in just seconds, pupils and teachers were killed - it is an appalling crime," she told reporters. "This is a day of mourning for the whole of Germany," she continued. Baden-Würtemberg Minister-President Günther Oettinger travelled to the scene of the crime by helicopter shortly after the news broke. Oettinger spoke of a "horrible and in no way explainable crime." He also expressed his condolences to the victims, students and families. "This has touched all of Baden-Württemberg. The school, the town, the future, education, and raising children - to destroy these things like that is especially cruel."

The European Parliament held a minute of silence to honour the dead. An ecumenical Church service was held in Winnenden the evening of the shooting, attended by a Protestant, a Catholic, and a Muslim cleric. All German flags were flown on half-staff until Friday 13 March, in honour of the victims.

In the days following the event, some politicians called for legal consequences, including a total prohibition of all shooting video games, a better monitoring of gun club members, a directive to have all ammunition deposited with police, and a provision to have gun club members store their weapons at the club house. Others dismissed such demands as mere "placebos".

Media response

TV stations MTV and VIVA both cut programming and replaced it with music videos to remember those lost in the event. Both channels had a scrolling banner along the top informing people of the change which read in German: "Angesichts der tragischen Ereignisse in Winnenden ändert MTV/VIVA das aktuelle Programm. In Gedanken sind wir bei den Angehörigen der Opfer." (English: "Due to the tragic events in Winnenden, MTV/VIVA has changed the current broadcast. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims.") VIVA also had a video loop with local presenter Klaas along with phone numbers to call.

 
 

Portrait of German Gunman Emerges

By Carter Dougherty - The New York Times

March 13, 2009

FRANKFURT, Germany — A portrait of a troubled, depressed teenager with easy access to an unsecured pistol has begun to emerge in the days after the youth went on a rampage, killing 15 people before taking his own life.

The police have established that the teenager, Tim Kretschmer, 17, last year broke off a round of psychological counseling for depression.

Searching his bedroom, the police found violent computer games — in which, experts say, players digitally clothe and arm themselves for combat — plus brutal videos and play weapons that fire small yellow pellets, said Siegfried Mahler of the Stuttgart prosecutors’ office.

But the police on Friday disputed the authenticity of a reported posting to a chat room in which someone warned of an attack on the school in Winnenden near here, where the attacks began on Wednesday and which the teenage gunman attended until his graduation last year. The day before, the police had announced the posting with confidence of its validity.

A police spokesman, Nikolaus Brenner, told the German news agency DPA that there was no indication that the purported warning had originated on Mr. Kretschmer’s personal computer. He said there might have been a “communications error” in the initial assessment.

Investigators have not discussed any specific motive, but have described Mr. Kretschmer as a classic case of a conflicted young man who wreaked havoc in real life after savoring imaginary violence in the digital world.

“If we had known this in advance, we would have called him a prototype of a rampager,” said Erwin Hetger, the chief of police in Baden-Württemberg, the southwestern German state where the crimes took place.

The brutality of the crimes was overwhelming.

Of the 12 people Mr. Kretschmer killed at the school, 8 were girls, 3 were female teachers and one was a male student. Several were killed with carefully placed shots to the head. After killing an employee of a clinic for the mentally ill, he sprayed at least 13 rounds to kill two people at a Volkswagen dealership before turning the gun on himself.

Prosecutors said they could file criminal charges against the shooter’s parents for failing to secure the pistol that he used, as required by German law. The gun was a 9-millimeter Beretta pistol that his father kept unsecured in a bedroom; other firearms owned by his father were under lock and key, the authorities said.

The confusion over the Internet posting began early Thursday. A senior state official told reporters that it had been reported to the police by the father of a youth identified only as Bernd. The information indicated that someone on a German-language chatroom had written: “I have weapons and will go to my old school and really burn them up. I might get out alive, but you will certainly hear about me tomorrow. Remember the name Winnenden.”

But after the Web site that the police named denied that there had been such a posting, the police said they were investigating that new information.

Heribert Rech, the state official who first made the purported posting public, was quoted in a German newspaper on Friday as saying: “Some crazy person sent a false message to the world.”

The posting “must have been constructed after the event,” he said.

After a shooting seven years ago at a school in Erfurt in the east of the country, German teachers and police officers were trained to respond to violent episodes. That training was on display minutes after the shooting began Wednesday. And on Thursday, offers of help came in from people who had experienced the aftermath of the Erfurt shooting.

But a consensus was building that even the best plans could not prevent every emergency.

“We did a lot in Germany,” said Christine Alt, director of the school in Erfurt where the shooting took place. “But it seems we will never find a recipe that is 100 percent effective.”

Some German officials said that some people always slipped through the system undetected.

“We need to recognize that there is no such thing as absolute security; that we cannot simply prevent everything,” Volker Kauder, the leader of the conservative bloc in Parliament, told German public radio. Wolfgang Schäuble, the interior minister who is in a wheelchair after being partly paralyzed by a bullet to the spine in an October 1990 assassination attempt, played down the need to tighten already tough gun laws.

But with the computer having played such a role in the young man’s life, the Winnenden shootings seem likely to renew a debate in Germany over banning violent video games.

“These games basically program the minds of young men a thousand times over,” said Alina Wilms, a psychologist involved in treating people affected by the Erfurt shooting, who advocates a ban. “If ever it were going to be possible,” she said, “then now.”

 
 

Profile: Tim Kretschmer

BBC News

Thursday, 12 March 2009

The teenage gunman who issued a chilling internet warning just hours before going on a deadly shooting rampage in his former school in south-western Germany was known by most of his neighbours and friends as "a normal, unremarkable boy".

Tim Kretschmer, 17, wearing black combat fatigues, on Wednesday shot dead nine students and three teachers in Winnenden and then three passers-by in the neighbouring town of Wendlingen before turning the gun on himself.

In his chatroom warning the night before the shootings, Kretschmer wrote: "I've had enough. I'm fed up with this horrid life... Always the same. People are laughing at me... No-one sees my potential... I am scared, I have weapons here, and I will go to my former school tomorrow and then I will really do a grilling."

Kretschmer had a passion for guns and liked violent computer games, people who knew him admit, but he never did anything to arouse suspicion in his home town of Leutenbach.

And hardly anyone could have suspected that Kretshcmer - who last year received psychiatric care - may be suffering emotionally or even having some sort of a split personality.

"He was a normal kid. Not aggressive," Eckehard Weiss, who had been Krestchmer's table-tennis coach for several years, told the BBC News website.

"Sometimes he could be quite arrogant, but then he was one of the better players, so that's understandable. He dressed like a normal boy, and the way he dealt with his team-mates was normal, too," said the coach.

"He was quiet but he had friends. He was funny," Marcel Rupp, one of Kretschmer's friends, was quoted as saying by the Times newspaper.

"He told me he was interested in guns, but I thought in a normal way," Marcel said.

'Happy family'

Tim Kretschmer lived with his parents and a younger sister in Leutenbach, about 12km (7.5 miles) from Winnenden.

The family was well integrated into the local community, and there was nothing unusual about Kretschmer's home life, local residents say.

"Tim never mentioned having any arguments at home. They seemed like a happy family," Mr Weiss said.

"They were very friendly. They had a lot of money and a big Mercedes," Jutta Lautenschlager, who works at a post office in Leutenbach, was quoted as saying by the Times.

Kretschmer's father - a respected businessman and a member of a local gun club - had a small arsenal of licensed guns which he kept in a locked cabinet.

It now appears that on Wednesday Tim Kretschmer used one of the guns - reportedly a Beretta - that was left in his father's bedroom, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Possible motives

Investigators are still baffled about his motivation for the shootings.

There has been speculation that Kretschmer - described by some of his former classmates as "a loner" who never had a girlfriend - could have held a grudge against his school.

Some media reports suggested that he deliberately targeted girls - 11 of the 12 victims at the school were female.

Meanwhile, police revealed that they had seized Kretschmer's computer, where they found "games that are typical for someone carrying out a mass shooting".

There have also been rumours that the gunman could have been influenced by a shooting in the US state of Alabama just several hours earlier in which 11 people were killed.

Investigators are now trying to find out why Kretschmer confessed being "fed up with his horrid life" and what triggered the shootings.

Was he trying to prove something to his peers? Was he influenced by the violent computer games? Did he hold a grudge against someone at his former school?

Try as they may, the investigators may never know what happened to a talented table-tennis player who proudly held his trophies in school pictures.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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