Killed by a client for wearing a mask

Killed by a client for wearing a mask
Killed by a client for wearing a mask

The murder of an employee of a German gas station, shot dead by a customer who refused to wear an anti-COVID mask, sparked a stir Tuesday in the country, where a strong movement opposed to health restrictions is mobilized.

The suspect, a 49-year-old man from Idar-Oberstein (west) currently in pre-trial detention, told police not to respect barrier gestures or health restrictions intended to combat the coronavirus epidemic.

The Social Democratic candidate for chancellery, Olaf Scholz, said on Twitter “very shocked that someone was killed because he wanted to protect himself and others”.

“As a society, we must resolutely oppose hatred. The offender must be severely punished, ”added the current favorite in the polls to Angela Merkel’s succession.

screenshots | Reuters

“I am shocked by the terrible murder of a young man who only asked to follow the rules in force, to be careful and to show solidarity”, for her part estimated the environmental candidate for the chancellery, Annalena Baerbock .

Originally from this region of Rhineland-Palatinate, which borders France, Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner, of Merkel’s conservative CDU party, described the murder as “shocking”.

This case dates back to Saturday when a gas station employee, a 20-year-old student, refused to cash a customer who wanted to buy a pack of beers because the latter was not wearing a mask.

Angry, the 49-year-old left, leaving his beers behind.

He returned an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask, but removed it as he walked past the counter to elicit a reaction from the cashier.

After being ordered to wear his mask correctly again, the client pulled a gun from his pocket and shot the student, who died instantly, police said.

The suspect reported to the local police station the next day.

Defendant told police that he felt “cornered” by the COVID-19 pandemic measures that he perceived as a “growing violation of his rights” and that he had seen “no another outcome, ”prosecutor Kai Fuhrmann said Monday.

screenshots | Reuters

Investigators then searched his apartment in which they found the murder weapon as well as other firearms and ammunition.

Since Saturday, several residents have placed flowers and candles in front of the gas station.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas questioned on Twitter the self-proclaimed movement of “Free Thinkers (Querdenker), a movement radically opposed to health restrictions.

“Free Thinkers are celebrating the act on the internet. The hatred and harassment of these incorrigible people is dividing our community and killing people. They have no place in our society, ”the minister accused.

However, the police did not say whether the author of the shots considered himself to be a member of this movement.

This brings together members of the far left, followers of conspiracy theories, detractors of vaccination as well as supporters of the far right.

screenshots | Reuters

Since the start of the pandemic, they have regularly organized demonstrations across Germany that have brought together tens of thousands of people, several of whom have degenerated into violence.

Germany’s domestic intelligence services announced in April that they were placing members of the Querdenker under surveillance, suspecting them of having links to right-wing extremism.

“The escalation of far-right conspiratorial fantasies among aggressive and violence-prone citizens has been evident for months,” said Stephan Kramer, head of intelligence for the state of Thuringia in the east of the country. , to the German media group RND.

“More and more citizens who were previously considered non-violent are breaking out, rallying and revolting.

The increasing aggressiveness is felt everywhere in everyday life, ”he added.

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