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Heidelberg shooting: German police say attacker got weapons in Austria

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By Euronews  with AP
Police officers examine a rifle at the campus of Heidelberg University, Germany, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.
Police officers examine a rifle at the campus of Heidelberg University, Germany, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.   -   Copyright  Sebastian Gollnow / AP

The 18-year-old gunman who opened fire at Heidelberg University, killing one person and wounding three others before killing himself, had bought three weapons about a week ago in Austria, German police said on Wednesday.

Two of these weapons were seized at the scene, along with around 150 rounds of ammunition.

The third weapon, a rifle, was found by Austrian police in a room that the man, who was not identified by name in line with German privacy rules, had rented during his stay in Austria, Heidelberg police said in a statement.

Police say the German man — who was a biology student at the university — purchased the two weapons used in the attack from a weapons dealer and the third from a private individual, both in Austria.

The precise motive for the attack is still being investigated, but the suspect was known to have suffered from a psychological illness in the past.

"It cannot be ruled out that a mental illness of the suspect could have been the cause of the crime," the police statement said.

Investigators are also following up on indications that the suspect was a previous member of a far-right party, which he is said to have left in 2019, when he was still a minor.

Police identified the slain woman as a 23-year-old German.

Those who suffered minor wounds were two German women, aged 19 and 20, and a 20-year-old German-Italian man.

The shooting sparked a massive police response, with more than 400 officers sent to the scene.

Heidelberg, which hosts one of Germany's best-known universities, is located south of Frankfurt and has about 160,000 residents.