German officials fear anti-mask radicalization after killing…
BERLIN (AP). German senior politicians expressed shock at the killing of a young clerk at a gas station who requested that a customer wear a mask. They warned Tuesday against radicalization by people who are opposed to the country’s restrictions on pandemics.
A 49-year-old German man was arrested in the fatal shooting of the clerk Saturday in the western town of Idar-Oberstein. The suspect is being held under suspicion of murder.
Authorities said that the suspect told officers that he acted out of anger after being denied service because he didn’t wear a mask when trying to buy beer.
“He also stated that he did not agree with the measures against coronavirus during interrogation, according to a statement from the Trier police.
Germany has put in place measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
According to police, the suspect left the gas station after the dispute but then returned a half-hour later wearing a mask and fatally shot the 20-year-old clerk in the head. The suspect, a German citizen, fled the scene but was not identified due to privacy laws. He turned himself in on Sunday morning.
The candidate of the center-left Green party to succeed German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed dismay at this murder. The German federal election is set for Sunday.
” “I am shaken by the terrible murder of a young boy who merely requested that existing rules be observed,” Annalena Bärbock wrote in a tweet.
Baerbock expressed concern over the radicalization in Germany’s Querdenken group, which includes conspiracy theorists, far-right extremists, and people who oppose vaccines and masks.
Authorities didn’t immediately indicate whether the suspect in killing the gas station worker was associated with this movement. This has been a result of a string of large anti-government protests that have turned violent .
Prosecutors told Germany’s dpa news agency that the man wasn’t previously known to police and that he wasn’t legally entitled to possess the firearm found at his house.
Paul Ziemiak, the general secretary of Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union party, called the clerk’s slaying “incomprehensible.”
“A young man was virtually executed because he pointed out the mask requirement,” Ziemiak said on Twitter. “An inconceivable level of radicalization!”
The head of the domestic intelligence agency in the eastern state of Thuringia, Stephan Kramer, told Germany’s RND media group that the killing was “no surprise to me in view of the steady escalation in recent weeks.”
Kramer said his office had warned of the growing potential for violence. He said that it was regrettable that someone has to die before the risk can be taken seriously. “
Facebook removed almost 150 pages and accounts linked to the Querdenken movement last week under a new policy that focused on groups that incite violence or spread misinformation but didn’t fall within the existing categories of bad actors.