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Germany: Police killing suspects may have been poachers

Image source, EPA

Two people suspected of killing a pair of German police officers are believed to be poachers, prosecutors say.

The officers were shot dead early on Monday morning while performing a routine traffic check in western Germany.

The car they stopped was later found to have been full of dead wild animals.

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The victims were a 29-year-old male officer and a 24-year-old female officer who was still in training.

Two suspects, aged 38 and 32, were arrested on Monday evening in the state of Saarland.

Police uncovered the identity of the older suspect after finding their ID lying near the body of the female officer.

German prosecutors said it appeared the pair had shot the police officers dead in an attempt to conceal their poaching.

Before contact was lost with them, the two officers had reported to colleagues they were checking a suspicious vehicle and that shots had been fired.

By the time more police arrived the young woman officer had been killed by a single shot to the head. The male officer, who was shot four times, died soon after.

The perpetrators fled the scene.

German media reported that a large arsenal of weapons was found in home searches following the arrest of the suspects.

Five handguns, one rifle, ten long firearms, a crossbow and a silencer were seized, as well as ammunition.

Both suspects, who were already known to police, were taken into custody on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Udo Gehring called the crime “disturbing and rare”.

“It does not fit with our idea of Germany that someone starts shooting with a hunting weapon in the street just because he was caught poaching”, he said.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday that the act had left him “deeply saddened”.

Gun crime is relatively rare in Germany, which has some of the strictest controls on gun ownership in Europe.

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