October 20, 2016 - 5:54 AM
BERLIN - A German police officer died early Thursday, a day after being shot by an anti-government extremist who had hoarded dozens of weapons at his home, officials said.
The 32-year-old officer succumbed to his injuries in a hospital, said Elke Schoenwald, a spokeswoman for police in the Middle Franconia region. Three other officers were injured in the shootout — one from gunfire and two others by flying glass.
An armed response unit had been sent to the suspect's home in the Bavarian town of Georgensgmuend on Wednesday to confiscate more than 30 weapons he legally possessed for hunting. Local authorities had revoked the 49-year-old's license because he appeared increasingly unreliable, Schoenwald said.
The man, whom police didn't identify, had a history of defying authorities and refused to allow officials to conduct a check on the weapons over the summer, she said.
The suspect, whom police didn't identify, was a supporter of the Reich Citizens' Movement, an extremist group that refuses to acknowledge the authority of the post-war Federal Republic of Germany.
Germany's top security official said measures needed to be taken to ensure officers don't become victims of violence.
"The increasing number of attacks by extremists is unbearable and unacceptable," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.
He didn't specify which measures would be taken, but his counterpart in the state of Bavaria, Joachim Herrmann, suggested that members of the Reich Citizens' Movement should be banned from owning weapons.
A recent report by Berlin's state intelligence service describes the movement as "an extremely diverse range of small groups and individuals who believe in an ideological mixture of conspiracy theories, anti-Semitic and anti-democratic views, and who have been behaving increasingly aggressively for some time."
It is mainly known for pursuing obscure legal claims against German authorities. In August, a member of the movement was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with officers in eastern Germany as he tried to prevent his eviction.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016