At least 16 Dead in a Shooting Spree in German School

At least 16 Dead in a Shooting Spree in German School
Marijan Murat/EPA

03/11/2009 AT 11:20 AM EDT

At least 16 people have been killed in a shooting at Albertville high school near Stuttgart in southwestern Germany, police are reporting.

The shooter stormed school grounds this morning at 9:30 local time, dressed in black combat gear and began shooting. After the shooting on the school campus, the gunman fled.

Nine of the victims were students – ages 16 to 17 – at the school in the town of Winnenden and three were teachers. Another victim is reportedly a gardener. Two passersby were also shot when the gunman fled to another town. The motive for the shooting is unknown, but police believe the gunman is a 17-year old former pupil who graduated last year.

According to Bild, his parents legally owned 18 guns. The father of the shooter is reportedly a well-off local businessman. The mother was interrogated by the police who searched the house.

According to wire service AFP, the gunman fled to Wendlingen, a town 25 miles away by forcing someone to drive him, and engaged in a shootout with police. According to AFP, he was killed after police spotted him trying to break into another car.

The bloodiest school shooting in Germany to date occurred on April 26, 2002 when a former pupil in Erfurt, a city in east Germany, killed 17 people in his school before killing himself.

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