In the trial of the shots from a crossbow at a Bremerhaven high school in May, the accused former student largely admitted the act of violence. “For me it was like in a movie, like in a video game,” said a defense attorney on Thursday before the Bremen Regional Court in a statement by the 21-year-old. In fact, he was like “in a tunnel”. He apologized through his attorney for the crime.

Heavily armed and with “battle clothes” he wanted to set up a threat scenario at school – also to scare a former teacher whom he blamed for his failure at school. He had explicitly asked for her when he entered the building. The aim was a “suicide by cop”, i.e. a fatal shot from a police officer’s gun, the statement said. At the time of the crime he was suffering from social phobia and depression.

No intent to kill

It was not his intention to injure or even kill anyone. “It was not a killing spree,” the statement said. He couldn’t explain why he first fired a shot at the school secretary with the crossbow and then a second when she tried to flee. Before the act, he is said to have said to the woman: “You were always cheeky with me back then.” The victim suffered life-threatening injuries and survived only through emergency surgery. The woman followed the first day of the hearing as a joint plaintiff, visibly moved.

The man, who the indictment says is German-Turkish, is charged with attempted murder with base motives and malice. In fact, his criminal responsibility is said to have been significantly reduced. The accused had several weapons with him during the attack: a professional crossbow loaded with steel bolts, a loaded blank pistol, a machete and a knife.

After the secretary was shot, a school contingency plan was triggered after rumors arose of a second perpetrator in the building. The students and teachers locked themselves in their classrooms. They stayed there for around four hours until the police gave the all-clear.

Arrest without resistance

Shortly after the crime at school, the accused is said to have fired his crossbow twice at a passer-by at a crossroads. The shots narrowly missed this victim. The suspect allowed himself to be arrested by the police a short time later without resistance. The young man is now in a closed psychiatric facility.

He had fallen deeper and deeper into a hole after he had not been admitted to high school, he explained in the statement. He played video games for up to twelve hours a day: “I took refuge in virtual worlds.”

On the first day of the trial, the teacher testified as a witness whom he held responsible for his school failure. She interprets the fact that he first asked about her and then shot the secretary that he “tried to kill me”. She couldn’t explain why he blamed her for his non-admission to the Abitur. She has lived very withdrawn since the day of the crime, she said in court. The trial will resume on November 29th.