Outcry after German petrol station worker shot dead in mask row

20-year-old clerk shot in head after asking customer to put on face mask

The shooting of a petrol station clerk in a row over the wearing of face masks has sparked outrage in Germany.

The 20 year old was shot and killed on Saturday by the customer, who became angry when asked to wear a face mask.

The man arrested in Germany did not have a firearms licence, leading to calls for an investigation into how he obtained the weapon.

On Sunday, the customer, 49, walked into a police station to offer a confession. He told police he had acted “out of anger” after being asked to cover his nose and mouth at the petrol station in the town of Idar-Oberstein.

The man was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Police in the city of Trier, 37 miles west of the town, said the suspect left the petrol station after the dispute but returned wearing a mask about an hour later. He drew a concealed revolver from his pocket, shot the clerk and fled.

“He further stated during interrogation that he rejected the measures against coronavirus,” they said.

Under German Covid restrictions, people are required to wear masks in indoor public spaces.

Germany’s chief public prosecutor, Kai Fuhrmann, said officers found the gun used in the attack, along with other weapons and ammunition, during a search of the man’s home.

He did not hold a gun licence and investigators are working to determine how he obtained the arms.

Mr Fuhrmann told the DPA news agency the victim had received a shot to the head.

The shooting prompted an outpouring of sympathy from politicians in Germany as millions of voters prepare to elect a new chancellor.

Annalena Baerbock, the Green candidate running in the election, expressed concern about the “radicalisation” of the coronavirus-sceptic movement.

“I am shocked by the terrible murder of a young man, who had only asked others to follow the prevalent rules, to be considerate and show solidarity,” she said on Twitter.

“I am greatly concerned about the radicalisation of the Querdenker [Germany’s movement of pandemic sceptics]. We all need to stand up to growing hatred.”

The mayor of Idar-Oberstein, Frank Fruehauf, expressed his shock and dismay at the crime.

“This is a quite inconceivable, terrible act that has happened here in Idar-Oberstein,” he said.

“Such a crime is unprecedented. It will take time to come to terms with it.”

Updated: September 21st 2021, 2:56 PM
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