The police officers in Lohr, Franconia, found it difficult to believe the account of a 15-year-old. A teenager is said to have killed another teenager near a school center. And the alleged perpetrator is said to have told him, the 15-year-old, that himself. Do you have to pursue a story like that? Lohr in the Main-Spessart district has 15,000 inhabitants, it’s still school holidays, and the number of staff in rural inspections is notoriously patchy. The police had doubts about the story, but sent a patrol car to the school center. There the 15-year-old’s information turned out to be accurate.
In Lohr am Main, little has been the same since the weekend. An arrest warrant was issued against a 14-year-old student on suspicion of murder. He is said to have shot a classmate with a pistol on Friday at the city’s school center, which houses three different types of schools. The patrol officers had found exactly what the 15-year-old had announced in a part of the area that was difficult to see, in a kind of small park. A teenager was lying there with serious injuries to his upper body. The officers tried to revive the student. An emergency doctor called to help could only determine that the 14-year-old was dead.
The investigators didn’t have to look long for a lead on a suspect. The 15-year-old had explained what an acquaintance had informed him about. At around 6 p.m. on Friday, a 14-year-old was arrested in his parents’ home in the Main-Spessart district, initially provisionally. Detectives tried until the evening hours to get him to talk, but in vain. But on Saturday at the investigating judge in Würzburg, the teenager at least talked a little. He said there was a gun in his parents’ house.
Investigators actually found a handgun there, a pistol, which they believe was the murder weapon. The investigating judge issued an arrest warrant against the teenager. He was transferred to a juvenile detention center; as a 14-year-old he is of criminal responsibility. The suspicion is not generally of a homicide. The suspicion is specifically murder. The spot at the school center, the small area with the bushes – people don’t meet there by chance, says an experienced investigator. The suspicion is that they had arranged to meet there. Like: to murder?
What could have motivated the suspected shooter to do this? As is to be expected in a smaller city, speculation is rife, many now want to know something. Chief Inspector Enrico Ball confirms that there is initial suspicion, but that investigations into a possible motive are at a very early stage. The fact is: the two knew each other and attended the middle school integrated into the school center. Whether money was involved in this murder case – possibly a smaller amount of debt – and whether narcotics could have played a role? Not to be ruled out, says the commissioner. But anything but assured.
In fact, according to SZ information, a tiny amount of cannabis was once found on the murder suspect. In general, the 14-year-old was known to the police, but not with anything unusual. “Little things,” says an investigator. And now a suspicion of murder? On Sunday morning, the teenager’s cell phone had not yet been recovered. The investigators would hope to draw conclusions from this. A police dog that specializes in data carriers helps with the search.
And the gun? Of course, says Commissioner Ball, this is now the focus of the investigators. How could a teenager manage to get his hands on a sharp weapon? There is no indication that he could have taken them from his parents’ house. The focus of the investigators is rather on possible third parties from whom the 14-year-old allegedly obtained the weapon – in whatever way.
Many now suspect that the little town of Lohr will not be able to calm down from the case for a long time. Mario Paul, the first mayor, went to the market on Saturday to talk to people. He describes the mood as “depressed and shocked”. People, including him, don’t yet know how to process the disturbing reports or how to deal with them. When the mayor says this, all he knows is that a 14-year-old is suspected of killing someone his own age. Which would be depressing enough. The Würzburg public prosecutor Thorsten Seebach will only be able to announce hours later that he is said to have used a firearm.
The autopsy report from forensic medicine in Würzburg only brought certainty about this on Saturday. Initially, experienced investigators had only reported “blunt force” in view of the visible serious injuries, which must have acted on the 14-year-old. There was already a tip from a witness who claimed to have heard a gunshot on school grounds on Friday. But could that be true?
The mood in Lohr at the weekend is not just anxious. She is also upset. Representatives of the police and media experienced this on Saturday, when the press office of the Lower Franconia police headquarters invited people to Lohr am Main for an appointment primarily for television teams. Police spokesman Ball is interrupted in the area by young people who apparently feel disturbed in their grief. The commissioner accepted this calmly; it just shows “what emotions we are dealing with,” he says. After the incident, the young people were allowed into one of the school buildings and looked after there.
The school area in Lohr, located on the federal road to Würzburg, offers numerous leisure activities. A few years ago it was completely renovated, “the buildings are up to date,” says Iris Frodl-Stahl, the chairwoman of the parents’ council of the high school that is also located there. A neighboring fast food restaurant, a basketball court, and more: even when there are no classes, young people use the area. Apparently it has now become a crime scene.
He was “stunned and very sad,” says Mayor Paul. “To show humanity in this shock and to provide assistance”, that’s what it’s all about now. On Sunday, the parish church of St. Michael was opened for shared mourning and condolences, and pastors made offers to talk. The school holidays in Bavaria will end on Tuesday, and crisis teams will then be present in the center’s three schools. “If a place remains empty after the end of the holidays,” they should help the students, says the mayor.