What happened at the crime scene after the violent death of a police officer and her colleague during a traffic stop? The court wants to know that from witnesses. The descriptions are drastic and highly emotional.
With mortal fear in his voice, the police inspector asks for help with his last words. “They’re shooting, they’re shooting,” the 29-year-old shouts into the radio, almost in panic, and a little later a shot is heard. Then oppressive silence.
The nightly emergency call can be heard again and again on Monday in the courtroom in Kaiserslautern. It is the beginning of evidence in the murder trial of the death of the police commissioner and a 24-year-old police officer near Kusel (Palatinate) at the end of January. The first witnesses are emergency services and paramedics who were at the scene shortly after the crime. Your descriptions are drastic.
A total of 13 witnesses are heard
“The blood ran down the street,” says a 27-year-old colleague of the two police officers who were shot, clearly shocked. The young police officer lay dead in the light of the car headlights on District Road 22, with serious injuries after being shot in the head. Her colleague was lying in a meadow, he was also fatally hit in the head. “A cartridge case was in the trail of blood, later sleet set in,” says the police officer. Actually, he would have been on duty that day at the G7 summit in Bavaria. Instead, like other emergency services, he has to provide information about the deaths of colleagues.
The alleged shooter sits a few meters away and takes notes. The 39-year-old occasionally speaks to his defender. The public prosecutor’s office accuses him of having shot and killed the two police officers during the nightly vehicle check to cover up poaching. The act of violence caused horror. The prosecution accuses a 33-year-old accomplice of attempted evasion. He is said to have helped cover up the tracks.
A total of 13 witnesses were summoned on Monday, including the main defendant’s wife and mother-in-law. They refuse to testify, and neither does the accomplice’s fiancee.
The next witness is a 30-year-old police officer from Kusel. He speaks of a nocturnal “wandering” of the emergency vehicles after the desperate call for help from the police commissioner because the crime scene could not be found at first. Had he looked at the corpse of his colleague? “No,” he says in a toneless voice, “I didn’t want that for personal reasons.” The dead man was his friend.
At the start of the trial last week, the main defendant had his defense attorney read a statement. In it he rejected the murder allegations and blamed his accomplice for the policewoman’s death. For himself, he described a kind of self-defense situation from which he shot the police officer. The 33-year-old’s defense attorney had rejected the statement as inaccurate.
Only time can heal the wounds
So far, the district court has scheduled appointments up to September 9th. According to a sociologist, the process can only slightly alleviate the suffering of the bereaved. “Pain is not part of the legal processing,” said Thorsten Benkel of the German Press Agency. Even the harshest punishment for a perpetrator cannot end the grief. “There is no fair compensation for the loss of a person,” says Benkel, who researches the culture of mourning in Germany in Passau. As banal as it may sound, only time heals wounds. “At some point, everyday life will be back.”
A few hours after the dead police officers were discovered, the two suspects were arrested in Saarland. The murder charge against the 33-year-old was later dropped, he is not in custody. According to the public prosecutor’s office, the 39-year-old main suspect could also be placed in preventive custody if convicted.