Woman opens fire in German town, 4 killed

German authorities were looking for a motive in an fire and a shooting.

Last Updated: Sep 20, 2010, 12:51 PM IST

Berlin: Four people were killed and at least one person seriously injured when a woman armed with a gun opened fire in and around a hospital in the southern German town of Loerrach, authorities said on Sunday.

"The situation is under control," said a spokesman for local police. The woman was among the four dead, he added.

Television pictures showed authorities had cordoned off several streets in the town near the Swiss border, where the shooting began at around 6 pm.

Police said shots were first heard after an explosion in an apartment block in central Loerrach. Shortly afterwards, a woman armed with a gun ran out of the building, which caught fire.

The woman entered the nearby St Elisabethen-Krankenhaus hospital and fired off several rounds, police said. She was then shot dead in an exchange of fire with police.

Police said two people were killed inside the hospital and that a police officer was seriously wounded. They added that the bodies of a man and a child were found in the apartment block, having previously said a woman and a girl were found dead there.

Local state prosecutor Dieter Inhofer told ZDF television investigators believed the deaths were all linked. However, the motive for the killings was still unclear, he added.

Germany has been debating tougher controls on gun ownership since a teenager went on the rampage in March 2009 in the southern town of Winnenden near Stuttgart, killing 15 people at his old school before shooting himself.

The boy`s father went on trial on Thursday charged with failing to secure his gun properly. Both Winnenden and Loerrach are in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Germany`s worst school shooting was in April 2002, when a gunman killed 17 people, including himself, at a high school in the eastern city of Erfurt.

Bureau Report