Senior German politicians expressed outrage over the weekend killing of a teenage gas station clerk who required a client to wear a face mask. They warned against radicalization among those who oppose the country’s coronavirus pandemic restrictions on Tuesday. The clerk was fatally shot on Saturday in the western town of Idar-Oberstein, and a 49-year-old German man was apprehended. On suspicion of murder, the suspect is being held, per CBS News.
The man told investigators he behaved “out of rage” after refusing service for not wearing a mask while attempting to purchase alcohol. Furthermore, the Trier police department said in a statement that he further revealed during interrogation that he opposed the measures against the coronavirus.
One of the precautions in place in Germany to curb the spread of the virus is the requirement of wearing masks in supermarkets. According to authorities, the suspect fled the gas station following the altercation but returned half an hour later wearing a mask and fatally shooting the 20-year-old clerk in the head.
The suspect, a German citizen who requested anonymity due to privacy concerns, fled the scene and surrendered to police Sunday morning. The Green Party’s nominee to succeed German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her displeasure with the assassination. The German federal election is set to take place on Sunday.
Tweets from the Authorities
In a tweet, Annalena Baerbock asserted that she was shaken by the horrific murder of a young man who just asked that current norms be obeyed. In addition, Baerbock also raised the alarm about the Querdenken movement in Germany, which includes anti-mask and anti-vaccine activists, conspiracy theorists, and some far-right and neo-Nazi radicals.
Authorities haven’t said whether the gas station slaying suspect is linked to the movement, under increased surveillance from Germany’s security agencies following a succession of massive anti-government protests, some of which turned violent. Thus, the individual was not previously known to police, according to prosecutors, and he was not legally permitted to possess the pistol located at his home, according to the DPA news agency in Germany.
The clerk’s killing was described as “incomprehensible” by Paul Ziemiak, the general secretary of Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union party.
Ziemiak tweeted that a young man was executed because he pointed out the mask requirement. He also said in the tweet that it was an unprecedented levels of radicalism.
Under a new policy aimed at groups that propagate misinformation or incite violence but don’t fall into the platform’s established categories of bad actors, Facebook erased over 150 accounts and pages associated with the Querdenken movement last week.