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Europe
Frankfurt suspect's 'gun jammed'
Suspect who killed two US airmen could have shot more had it not been a stuck bullet casing, German presecutor says.
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2011 06:52 GMT
None of the victims have yet been publicly identified, pending notification of next of kin [Reuters]

A German prosecutor has said that the man suspected of killing two US Air Force members could have killed more people if his gun had not jammed.

Arid Uka, the 21-year-old suspect, has been charged with two counts of murder, and three counts of attempted murder after the shooting at Frankfurt airport on Wednesday.

Rainer Griesbaum, the public prosecutor, said that Uka had "held the pistol directly in front of a third soldier's head and pulled the trigger twice in order to kill him".

"But, the pistol didn't fire, as one bullet casing got stuck in the mechanism of the gun, so this soldier wasn't injured."

Griesbaum said that the gun had jammed with six bullets still in the magazine.

"As the accused realised his gun was no longer working, he escaped ... but was followed by the soldier, and then overpowered and apprehended by both him and federal police officers".

'Substantial evidence'

The prosecutors have taken over the investigation into the shooting, which also injured two other US servicemen, one of them critically, and are working together with US authorities.

The airmen killed in Wednesday's attack were on their way to overseas deployment via Germany [Reuters]

The man was taken into custody immediately after the shooting.

On Thursday, the suspect arrived at a federal court in Karlsruhe under heavy guard.

The AP news agency reported that a top German security official had said that the man had confessed to the shootings.

Juergen Linker, a Frankfurt police spokesman, told the DAPD news agency that one serviceman remained in critical condition after being shot in the head. The other wounded airman was not in a life-threatening condition, Linker said.

None of the victims have yet been publicly identified, pending notification of next of kin.

The alleged attacker's relatives in Kosovo identified him as Arid Uka, whose family is originally from the northern town of Mitrovica. But they said the suspect was born and educated in Germany.

Condemnation

Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, condemned the shooting as a "terrible incident" and pledged a full investigation, while Barack Obama, the US president, called the attack an "outrageous act".

The victims, part of a group of about a dozen members of an air force military police and base security unit, had just arrived from England, the US air force said.

They were waiting outside Terminal 2 of the airport, one of Europe's busiest, to be driven to nearby Ramstein Air Base, which is often used as a logistical hub for American operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Todd Vician, a Pentagon spokesman, said the airmen were on their way to an overseas deployment to Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere.

The US embassy in Pristina, Kosovo's capital, said in a statement on Thursday that "the act of a single individual will in no way affect the deep and abiding friendship between our two countries".

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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