The German student who opened fire on Monday in a lecture hall at Heidelberg University had far-right sympathies. Four fellow students were injured, one of which was fatal.
Nikolai G. (18) was a member of the far-right party Der III-Weg in the past, German media report based on sources in security circles. Investigators came across the teen’s name on an internal membership list from 2019. In October of that year, he turned himself in, according to Der Tagesspiegel the party founded in 2013, which is regarded as one of the most radical and active organizations in the neo-Nazi scene.
According to the Public Prosecution Service (OM) in Heidelberg, detectives are checking “indications” that the suspect was a member of the extreme right-wing party and would have left it in 2019, “when he was still a minor”. For the time being, however, there are no indications that he was radicalized or had contacts ‘in the right-wing spectrum’, according to the Public Prosecution Service, based on an analysis of digital media by G. and statements from people from his personal environment. The shooter’s motive remains unclear.
The biochemistry student, who took his own life after the drama in the lecture hall outside, bought three guns in Austria “about a week” before his attack. He is said to have bought two of those weapons from an arms dealer, the third from a private individual. The former weapons were found on the university grounds with about 150 rounds next to his body on Monday afternoon. The third, a shotgun, was found by the Austrian police in a room rented by G.. The extent to which the arms sellers will be held criminally liable has yet to be determined. “This appears to be difficult due to the different legal situations in the Republic of Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany,” the Public Prosecution Service said in a statement.
According to the Public Prosecution Service, the suspect took a taxi from his hometown of Mannheim to Heidelberg, about 18 kilometers to the southeast. He would have hidden the weapons in a sports bag that was in the trunk of the car during the ride. G. did not have a firearms license, nor did his parents. He would have wanted to arrange a hunting license in Austria.
The teenager lived according to Der Tagesspiegel only a few months in Mannheim. He grew up in the Berlin district of Wilmersdorf and is said to have been involved in a fight there in 2017. The then 14-year-old G. and a friend beat up a younger teenager, according to the Berlin newspaper. The victim’s mother contacted police, but the investigation was halted.
According to of the mirror G. suffered from schizophrenia in the past and heard “ordering” voices.
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G. entered the lecture hall of the Center for Organic Biology about 12:24 a.m. Monday and started shooting at random. Four fellow students were injured: three women (19, 20 and 23 years) and one man (20). The oldest woman was hit in the head and later succumbed to her injuries in a hospital. The other victims suffered minor injuries. Just before his actions, the gunman sent his father an app in which he wrote that ‘people should be punished now’. That father called the police at 12.32 pm to say that his son had sent a message announcing his act.
In G.’s apartment in Mannheim, investigators seized mobile phones, laptops and a tablet. So far, according to the Public Prosecution Service, ‘no evidence has been found of a personal relationship between the alleged perpetrator and the victims’.
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