(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.
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
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.
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
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.
Locations of the incident within Germany
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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".
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
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’
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
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
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
"He told me he was interested in guns, but I thought
in a normal way," Marcel said.
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.
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.