Defendant in murders of German police officers allegedly used illegal military technology in poaching operation


Police stand by at a public information point in Ulmet, Germany, January 31, 2022. They were on the scene during a search for two suspects involved in the shooting and death of two police officers near Kusel. The suspects are in custody. (Kaiserslautern Police/Twitter)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — One of the men accused of shooting dead two German police officers on Monday during a routine patrol near the U.S. Army installation in Baumholder has had numerous run-ins with the law, officials said Thursday. prosecutors.

The suspects, Andreas Johannes Schmitt, 38, of Spiesen-Elversberg, and his alleged accomplice, a 32-year-old man identified only as Florian V., are in jail awaiting trial.

Law enforcement officials said on Tuesday the couple shot officers at around 4.20am on a road near Kusel to escape arrest on suspicion of poaching.

Florian V.’s lawyer, Christian Kessler, said his client told police that Schmitt was solely responsible for killing the officers, according to an interview with German news magazine Focus Online.

“Investigations thus far have not refuted his statements that he did not shoot,” Kessler said.

Stefan Orthen, Kaiserslautern’s chief prosecutor, said Tuesday the state believes the two men fired a weapon and pose a significant flight risk. An investigating judge rejected Florian V.’s request for release.

Meanwhile, local hunters and German media portrayed Schmitt as a prolific poacher.

Police investigators found frozen meat in a warehouse owned by Schmitt and sales records at his home that showed an income of 40,000 euros between September and January, news magazine Der Spiegel reported.

Amid the search for the suspects, Dieter Mahr, the chairman of the Rheinland-Pfalz Hunting Association, sent a WhatsApp voicemail on Monday saying that Schmitt is hunting with military equipment, the Die Rheinpfalz newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Schmitt continued his illicit hunt in the forested region between Kaiserslautern and the French border using night vision and sights, a technology banned for hunters in Germany, Mahr said.

During a rabbit hunt, Schmitt fired his shotgun and injured another hunter in the chest, neck and eyes, the Saarbrücken prosecutor’s office told Stars and Stripes on Thursday.

Schmitt was not given a prison sentence but paid the injured hunter 5,000 euros in compensation and was fined 4,500 euros for negligence in 2006. The sentence will not be used in the case ongoing as she is no longer part of Schmitt’s criminal record.

Schmitt was also awaiting trial in Saarbrücken District Court for embezzling 100,000 euros in government-mandated health insurance contributions.

In addition, he was accused of having organized a robbery in 2019 in a bakery which he owned in an attempt to defraud his insurance company of 50,000 euros, the prosecution said. Schmitt denied the charges at the time. The charges were combined with the fraud charges and are pending.

Monday’s shooting at K22 sparked a major manhunt, which included helicopters and dogs. German police special forces arrested the men around 5 p.m. Monday.

The filming area is known for its animal traffic. Red deer, wild sheep and wild boar find refuge in nearby Baumholder military training areas, where hunting is prohibited.

Die Rheinpfalz reported that Florian V. had been fined for less serious offenses ranging from traffic offenses to electronic fraud.

The double homicide in Rheinland-Pfalz sent shock waves across the country.

“It is not part of our idea of ​​​​Germany that someone starts shooting hunting weapons on the road just because he is suspected of poaching,” the chief prosecutor of Germany told reporters on Tuesday. Kaiserslautern, Udo Gherig. “That’s why this case is so troubling.”

The state is home to the largest American military community in Europe, with tens of thousands of American personnel and their family members at Ramstein Air Base and several Army installations.

Rheinland-Pfalz police will hold a statewide minute’s silence at 10 a.m. on Friday in memory of the two officers, a 24-year-old police academy intern and her 29-year-old colleague.

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Alexander W. Riedel

Alexander reports on US and local military news in Europe for Stars and Stripes in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He has 10 years of experience as an Air Force photojournalist covering operations in Timor-Leste, Guam and the Middle East. He graduated from Penn State University and is an alumnus of the Defense Information School.




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