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18 Dead at High School Shooting in Erfurt, Germany

Aired April 26, 2002 - 10:59   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Want to get right to the breaking news that we've been following all morning long out of Erfurt, Germany, the word of a school shooting, a tragic school shooting. Police in central German town of Erfurt say it was an expelled student who opened fire at the school. Eighteen people are reported dead, including the 19-year-old gunman.

Joining us from the phone right now our own CNN producer Alex Quade. She is on the scene.

And, Alex, you were able to bring us some just shocking numbers when we talked to you in the last hour.

ALEX QUADE, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, good morning, Daryn.

Again, 18 people are dead after two gunmen went on a shooting rampage at this high school in Erfurt in eastern Germany. Now among the dead are 14 teachers, 2 students, 1 police officer, and 1 of the gunmen. Police say that this gunman shot himself when they got close to him.

The high school at this point has been evacuated. Police are still continuing to search for they believe to be a second gunman holed up somewhere inside. They are worried that he may have escaped, but they believe that he may still be holed up somewhere inside. They do not know if he is holding any students hostage.

The police spokesman says that the gunmen are believed to have been disgruntled students. The one who shot himself was a 19-year-old ex-student who had been expelled and the other one they are still looking for.

Right now police believe that someone else may have known that something was being planned because this kind of an action required much preplanning. Europe has -- Germany has very, very strict gun laws, and they believe that this action would have required very, very much preplanning. They believe that because they had to obtain the weapons that somebody else may know something. They are searching Internet and Web sites at this point.

Earlier on they said that the gunman who shot himself was carrying a handgun and a sawed-off shotgun. A young witness at the scene describes that as teachers were coming down a staircase that the gunman who was masked shot at them. Again, here in Erfurt in eastern Germany, we have 18 people dead at a high school, 14 teachers, 2 students, 1 police officer, and 1 of the gunmen. Police are still looking for a second gunman believed to maybe still be on the premises -- Daryn.

KAGAN: So, Alex, how close are you to the school right now and to the scene?

QUADE: We are still a little bit away from the scene, but we have been hearing many, many reports and been talking with people as we are on our way there.

KAGAN: I'm also wondering about -- we're getting these absolutely shocking numbers about the number of people killed, what about additional injuries besides the fatalities?

QUADE: That is the question that will still go up. Medics and police have been describing that the scene is just horrible, that there are many people injured and they do not know an exact number yet of injured. Earlier on there were reports of six, but that number is expected to rise -- Daryn.

KAGAN: I think you'll see as you pull up to the scene what we're being able to see by the pictures we're getting in so soon, and what's kind of shocking about it, it looks so similar to what we saw in Columbine when you think of two student -- two young men going into a school, the scene of the young people hugging each other and of course, the fatalities. It's just -- it rings too closely to Columbine. But as you were mentioning, the big difference between the U.S. and Germany, it's so difficult to get your hands on weapons in Germany and yet somehow these people did.

QUADE: That's -- yes, that's the thing, Daryn, is that -- you know when something like this happens of course the community is going to be in shock, but here people are just amazed that something like this could have happened. They don't -- they didn't believe that this could happen in Germany. You know this seems like something that they are used to seeing on television happening in the United States, you know in the Wild West as they call it, but the gun laws here are so strict. It is so difficult to obtain a gun that people here are very surprised that anything like this could have happened here.

This is something that police investigators will be looking into over the next few days, over the next few weeks to figure out how these young men were able to obtain guns and you know how they were able to plan this and to find out if there are more people who may have known that this was -- that this was going to happen -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Well, and as you mentioned, this is far from being resolved today. There's still the possibility that there's another gunman out there or perhaps in the school, and police still trying to resolve that situation at the high school in Erfurt, Germany.

Alex Quade, CNN producer, on her way to the scene. Alex, thank you very much -- Leon.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Well how many times do you hear it being said that could never happen here?

KAGAN: Yes.

HARRIS: And indeed turn around and find out tragically sometimes it does.

KAGAN: Unfortunately it has.

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