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'I saw teacher dead in hallway'

Police take instructions at the school
Police take instructions at the school  

ERFURT, Germany -- Pupils at a school in Germany where at least one gunman went on the rampage have told how they heard gunshots and fled for their lives.

"I heard shooting and thought it was a joke," Melanie Steinbrueck, 13, told the Associated Press. "But then I saw a teacher dead in the hallway in front of Room 209 and a gunman in black carrying a weapon."

Juliane Blank, 13, added: "The guy was dressed all in black -- gloves, cap, everything was black. He must have opened the door without being heard and forced his way into the classroom. We ran out into the hallways. We just wanted to get out." (Full story)

Some people inside Gutenberg Gymnasium School, in the eastern city of Erfurt, hung a placard from a window saying "Hilfe" (Help). "It was chilling. I saw this big placard with the word "Help" on it and people moving around behind it but I couldn't tell if they were children or attackers," a witness told German broadcaster RTL.

Student Martin Streng told AP he was in a maths class when he heard gunfire down the hall. He and his classmates went to the corridor to get out of the building and saw a man with a gun behind them.

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A reporter also told Reuters: "I talked to a 10-year-old pupil who said 'The gunmen were shooting wildly around us and there was blood everywhere."'

A pupil told NTV television that they were all together in the school. "There was a teacher with us. Somebody was shot in the leg."

Journalist Thomas Rothbart told CNN that pupils who managed to escape had said the gunman had stood up in the maths exam and said "This does not make sense."

Outside the school, a police officer with a megaphone urged parents to register their children's names before leaving the scene.

Groups of dazed and shocked students huddled in the street, hugging and crying.

Police spokesman Manfred Etzel told NTV television that the gunman was seen to have locked himself into a room before shooting himself.

Police officers went from the cellar of the school to the roof searching for a possible second gunman.

Police helicopters were flying above and ambulances circled the building, journalist Ralf Goehring told CNN.

He said he had contacted one of the pupils who had become trapped in a classroom after the bulk of the pupils had been evacuated.

"He said 80 pupils were in the building still, though they had been moved to the first floor."

Goehring said there was "great confusion" outside the school with pupils wanting to help their friends.

"Pupils are in shock," he added.


• Shooting at German high school
April 26, 2002

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