Murder over mask-wearing dispute sparks commotion in Germany

The suspect, a 49-year-old man from Idar-Oberstein (west) who later said he did not respect barrier gestures, was remanded in custody, local Rhineland-Palatinate police said in a statement on Monday evening. .

The employee of this gas station, a student, had refused to cash this 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 on the counter. 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 again to wear his mask correctly, the client took 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.

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

The mayor of Idar-Oberstein, Frank Frühauf, denounced a “terrible” act. Residents put flowers and candles in front of the gas station.

Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner of Merkel’s conservative CDU party from the region said the murder was “shocking”.

Katrin Göring-Eckardt, an environmental leader, tweeted that she was “deeply shaken” by the murder, which she said was “the cruel result of hatred”.

Police did not say whether the man considered himself to be part of the “Querdenker” (Free Thinkers) movement which has emerged as the main critical voice against the health restrictions imposed in Germany.

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.

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