Germany: Police arrest suspect based on DNA in Kassel murder of local leader

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 6.16.2019


A 45-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the killing of German politician Walter Lübcke, police said on Sunday.

The suspect was detained on Saturday morning by special police units in the central city of Kassel, 160 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of Frankfurt. The individual was then brought before an investigating judge on Sunday and remanded in custody.

“The arrest was based on a DNA match,” the regional public prosecutor’s office and the Hesse state office of criminal investigation said.

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 6.4.2019

“Welcome to Berlin-Neukölln,” says a man, referring to the inner-city Berlin neighborhood that has come to symbolize crime for some Germans.

The neighbors are trying to imagine what exactly happened at Walter Lübcke’s Kassel house on Saturday night. The village fair was underway over the weekend. It was probably too loud to have heard any shots, they say. The man says he walked past the house on his way home at about the time the murder must have taken place.

“What would you have done if the killer had come out?” asks one woman. “Let him go,” says the other, adding that it would be the only sane thing to do.

Walter Lübcke’s neighbors and co-workers can’t make sense of his death from a gunshot wound in a village on the outskirts of Kassel, in central Germany. They hope for relief from detectives working to solve the crime.

“Did you read the hateful tirades on the internet about him?” one woman asks. “Those are keyboard perpetrators.”

Walter Lubcke II 6.4.2019.jpg

Media reported that Lübcke had received death threats during the refugee crisis, when the region, like all of Germany, was taking in people fleeing war and poverty in Syria and beyond.

“Anyone who doesn’t share these values can leave this country at any time,” Lübcke, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), had said in response to disruptions at a community meeting about the situation in October 2015.

Everyone knew Walter Lübcke in Istha. He didn’t have to be shot dead for people in this quiet village of around 900 to learn his name. As president of the district council, the Regierungspräsidium, or governing presidium, here in the north of the state of Hesse, he was one of the most powerful politicians in the region.

The state police have been investigating what happened on Saturday night. They have not said whether or not they have leads, but that they are looking in all directions. They have also said that Walter Lübcke, who was 65, was shot in the head at close range and that no weapon was found. It was not suicide. He was discovered in his garden around midnight by a family member and pronounced dead in hospital two hours later. They have asked people to refrain from speculating.


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