The Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences is in shock after the knife attacks on campus. One fatality is now expected – the alleged perpetrator is apparently seriously mentally ill.

After the knife attacks at the Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences (HSHL) in Hamm, Westphalia, the police and public prosecutors speak of an “amoktat”. Four people, three women and one man, were seriously injured in the attacks on Friday afternoon – according to Deputy Dortmund Police Commissioner Ralf Ziegler, there is little hope for a 30-year-old woman: “Death is to be expected,” he said at a press conference on Saturday. The 34-year-old suspect from Hamm – also a student at HSHL – is admitted to the psychiatric ward.

Police reconstruct knife attacks at Hammer University

Meanwhile, the investigations into the crime are progressing, the police were able to reconstruct the course of events almost completely on the basis of traces and dozens of witness statements:

Accordingly, the man, armed with two kitchen knives bought on the same day, ran into the building of the Hammer University and stabbed other people indiscriminately. “His first victim was a 22-year-old woman who sat unsuspectingly in the foyer,” said prosecutor Henner Kruse. The man then attacked a 22-year-old. Both were seriously but not life-threateningly injured. Another 22-year-old was “massively” injured a little later by eight knife wounds in the stomach – an emergency operation saved her life. In a lecture hall filled with around 100 visitors, the man then answered with the words “Now it’s your turn!” stabbed the 30-year-old several times, whose death is now expected. “We assume that all victims were accidental victims,” ​​said the prosecutor. “It can be assumed that the perpetrator acted arbitrarily,” agreed investigator Robert Herrmann.

After the fourth act, the man was overpowered by students in the lecture hall. “You have my special recognition, my respect and my thanks,” said Police Vice President Ziegler. They would have stopped the suspect “very bravely and with presence of mind” and thus possibly prevented numerous other victims.

Indications of mental illness

The first patrol car reached the university three minutes after the first emergency call. Six minutes later, at 3:35 p.m., the man’s arrest was reported. When he was arrested, he asked to be shot, explained public prosecutor Kruse – a first indication of the mental illness of the man. According to the information, more than 400 police officers, including special units, were deployed at HSHL, as well as rescue workers and pastors.

The investigation against the 34-year-old is now running for multiple attempted murder and dangerous bodily harm. “We fear that we will have to qualify one of the acts as a completed murder,” said public prosecutor Kruse, looking at the seriously injured 30-year-old.

The accused admitted to the crime. “He didn’t see any other way out,” said Kruse, referring to the man’s apparently serious mental illness. He had been receiving psychotherapeutic treatment for a long time, and the police were also aware of this. Most recently, he voluntarily sought inpatient treatment after attempting suicide, but released himself from the clinic on the day of the crime because he had the impression that the staff were poisoning him. After his arrest, the man reported that he and his parents felt threatened with death by an unspecified group. It was also known at the university that he suffered from paranoia. A psychiatric expert diagnosed the accused in custody with paranoid schizophrenia and a “massive mental illness”. According to Kruse, the placement in the psychiatric ward was arranged. According to the police, there is no evidence that the suspect is politically or religiously motivated. The public prosecutor’s office is checking whether the man is guilty.

HSHL has canceled all courses for Monday. “After the terrible events, we cannot and do not want to simply continue with regular operations on Monday, but pause for a moment,” said the university. For students, the campus will be open from 10 a.m. as a place to exchange ideas and pause. The Executive Committee, teachers and emergency pastoral workers are available for discussions on site. “There will also be a room where peace and quiet invite everyone to a quiet moment.”

Sources: Dortmund police headquarters (1), Dortmund police headquarters (2), Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences, DPA news agency