After the shots from a professional crossbow in a Bremerhaven high school, a 21-year-old former student has been sentenced to eight years in prison for attempted murder.
The Bremen district court also ordered placement in a psychiatric hospital. This has priority over the prison sentence, said the presiding judge Gesa Kasper. Because of a social phobia, depression and a suicidal crisis, his ability to control the crime was limited.
He insidiously shot the unsuspecting school secretary, said the judge. The second shot hit her in the back as she tried to flee. The victim suffered life-threatening injuries, and the woman only survived an emergency operation. The motive could not be clarified in court. Presumably, the accused did not feel that he was being taken seriously in conversation with the secretary, whereupon his "auto-aggression turned into external aggression". "The whole act is and remains inexplicable," said the judge.
"I swear by everything I have"
In the “last word of the accused”, the 21-year-old once again denied any intention to kill. "I swear by everything I have," he said. With the sentence, the court remained under the demand of the public prosecutor, who had asked for eleven years and eight months and placement in the closed psychiatric ward. The defense did not name a specific sentence.
According to the court, the heavily armed German-Turk did not initially come to the school in May 2022 with the intention of killing him. The aim was a "suicide by cop", i.e. a fatal shot from a police officer's gun. The defendant had imagined dying in this way to be less of a burden to his parents. He deliberately "choose a scenario of the greatest possible horror," said the judge. In addition to the crossbow with sharpened steel arrows, he also had a loaded blank pistol, a machete and a knife.
"You were always cheeky with me back then"
After the accused had not been admitted to the Abitur three years earlier, he had completely withdrawn from social life, informed himself about suicide possibilities in Internet forums and played first-person shooters to distract himself, the content of which "reminds me of the course of the crime," said Kasper. On the day of the crime, he asked about a former teacher whom he blamed for his failure at school. Since no one wanted to tell him their whereabouts, he ended up in the secretariat. There he said to his later victim: "You were always cheeky with me back then." A few seconds later, the woman had the first arrow stuck in her upper body, said the presiding judge. According to the victim, the psychological consequences of the crime still weigh on him to this day.
After the shooting, the contingency plan for a school shooting was triggered. 120 students and teachers locked themselves in the classrooms, where they stayed for several hours until the police gave the all-clear.
In the meantime, the 21-year-old had left the building and shot several times with a crossbow at a nearby crossroads. He was also charged with attempted murder. He was acquitted of that act because he voluntarily quit and put his guns on the ground without hurting anyone, the judge said.