Dhe suspected perpetrator of the fatal attack at Heidelberg University, Nikolai G., had acquired his weapons in Austria a few days earlier. This was confirmed by several people familiar with the process in discussions with WELT.
Investigators had previously confirmed that the 18-year-old allegedly bought his weapons “abroad”. Every document was found during searches. The models acquired are said to be a double-barrelled shotgun from the “Churchill” brand and a so-called bolt-action rifle, Chiappa Alaskan 1892.
A spokesman for the Heidelberg public prosecutor’s office, which is conducting the investigation, confirmed the purchase of the weapon in Austria on request. The two long guns were bought from a local dealer.
An Austrian arms dealer who has the corresponding models on offer referred to the investigative authorities in a telephone conversation with WELT on Wednesday afternoon and did not want to say “anything” about the alleged sale.
According to new findings by the investigators, a third weapon, a rifle, was found by the 18-year-old. The Austrian police found this weapon in a room in Austria.
At 12:24 p.m. on Monday, the first emergency calls were received by the Mannheim police headquarters. Callers reported a gunman firing shots in a university lecture hall. 30 students count themselves in the room at the time of the crime.
Ten minutes later, police officers stormed the university and searched the rooms. They found three cases in the lecture hall and at 12:51 p.m. a body in front of the university building – that of the alleged perpetrator. Investigators believe he took his own life.
Four students, who were all in the lecture hall at the time of the crime, were injured. A student, 23 years old, died. On Tuesday, exactly 24 hours after the first emergency calls, dozens of students gathered in front of the central canteen in Heidelberg for a minute’s silence, report those involved.
Freely available in Austria
According to investigators, one thing is certain: neither the perpetrator nor people from his immediate family environment have a gun license in Germany. According to weapons expert Markus Schwaiger, category C long guns that can be fired can be “freely sold” in Austria from the age of 18.
The simple registration of a secondary residence in the country is sufficient for the purchase, provided that there is no ban on weapons or psychological abnormalities in the person.
A spokesman for the public prosecutor said that the extent to which the purchase of the weapons was legal in G.’s case has not yet been clearly clarified.
Schwaiger, who runs an arms trade in Austria himself, criticizes this legal situation in an interview with WELT. The free sale of category C firearms “without any conditions” is wrong. “In my opinion, anyone who buys something like this should either have a gun license or a hunting license,” says Schwaiger. In addition, there are “an appalling number of illegal firearms” in circulation in Austria – “and nobody thinks about it.”
No information on political motives
According to prosecutors, the motive of the perpetrator is still unclear. According to investigators, there is currently no information that would indicate a politically motivated crime. The “Zeit” reported on Wednesday that G. was on a list of the neo-Nazi party “The Third Way” as a teenager. According to the public prosecutor’s office, however, he probably left the party in 2019.
“However, the evaluations of the alleged perpetrator’s digital media and testimonies from his personal environment that have already been carried out have so far not revealed any evidence of radicalization or contacts of the alleged perpetrator in the right-wing spectrum,” said the Heidelberg public prosecutor’s office on late Wednesday afternoon.
According to the police, Nicolai G. announced in a Whatsapp message immediately before the crime that people would now have to be “punished”. However, he did not give a specific name in the chat. He also wanted a burial at sea, which means that he was already dealing with his death. The recipient of this message is said to be the father of the 18-year-old from Berlin.
G. also grew up in the capital and attended a school in the Wilmersdorf district. In Heidelberg he might be in his first semester in biology, his apartment might be in Mannheim. Police officers searched the premises immediately after the crime. According to investigators, there are indications that G. was mentally ill in the past.
When asked by WELT, a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office confirmed that the 18-year-old had also been treated. It is not affected that the disease is the cause of the crime.
The “Botanik” investigative group, which is to clarify the case in the coming weeks, includes more than 30 police officers. Meanwhile, a bit of normality has returned at the University of Heidelberg: Lectures are already taking place again.