The alleged kidnapper in a pharmacy in Karlsruhe has been taken into custody. As prosecutors and police announced, a judge issued an arrest warrant against the 20-year-old suspect on Saturday on charges of hostage-taking. The accused is said to have threatened three people with a loaded alarm gun on Friday evening and held them in an adjoining room of the pharmacy. Another eight people were in the back of the store. According to a spokesman, these included customers and employees of the pharmacy.
Investigators now assume that the man acted alone. The initial suspicion that the man might have had an accomplice was not confirmed: "The 20-year-old acted alone," said a spokesman. When he was arrested, officers seized a pistol.
Three people were in the violence of the hostage-taker
The 20-year-old, known to the police, had the eleven hostages in his power for almost five hours. Eventually the access was granted by special forces. All hostages and the perpetrator remained physically unharmed. The Karlsruhe criminal police have set up a ten-strong investigative team for further investigations. For reasons of tactical investigation, the police have not yet provided any information on the hostage-taker's demands, such as ransom.
Eight of the eleven hostages could have hidden relatively quickly in the back of the pharmacy. Three people were then further in the power of the suspect. First, the investigators spoke of two people who the man had ordered from the sales room to an adjoining room of the pharmacy and held there.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, 350 forces were involved in the hostage-taking - in addition to police officers from the Karlsruhe police headquarters, a negotiating group from the Mannheim police headquarters, an advisory group from the State Criminal Police Office and special forces from the police headquarters.
"I wish the people who were in the hostage-taker's power for hours that they will not suffer any psychological consequences and will be able to process what happened quickly," said Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU), according to a spokeswoman. Strobl thanked the emergency services for their prudent use, which prevented worse things from happening.
The pharmacy was initially unavailable by phone the day after the crime. However, according to the observations of a dpa reporter, customers were able to pick up medication orders at a side door. The main entrance was boarded up. Photos showed shattered glass on the floor of the store.
The accused was no stranger to the police
The crime began around 4:30 p.m. Friday. Police spokesman Dennis Krull said several emergency calls had been received from the pharmacy and only two minutes later the first police officers were at the scene. Officers then cordoned off the area. The Karlsruhe trade fair canceled two evening events at short notice due to the situation. Then the police tried to enter into negotiations with the hostage-taker. After almost five hours, around 9:10 p.m., special forces stormed the pharmacy and ended the kidnapping.
The alleged perpetrator was overpowered and arrested. The German suspect was no stranger to the police: Krull said he had been noticed in the past for violent and property crimes, among other things.
After the rescue, the hostages immediately received offers of help, and an emergency chaplain was also there. Krull emphasized: "One can only imagine how the people who were in this exceptional situation for several hours are doing."