Man shot dead at German gas station over coronavirus mask dispute

By Birgit Reichert, dpa

German prosecutors said Monday that a gas station cashier was shot dead over a dispute about wearing a coronavirus mask.

A 49-year-old man who was in a gas station in the western town of Idar-Oberstein became irate when the employee refused to sell him beer due to his lack of mouth and nose protection, chief prosecutor Kai Fuhrmann said in the city of Trier.

The alleged perpetrator confessed to having killed the 20-year-old student with a shot to the head, saying that the burden of the pandemic had caused him to do it, said Fuhrmann.

He felt pushed into a corner and “saw no other way out” than to set an example. The victim seemed to him “responsible for the overall situation, since he was enforcing the rules,” said Fuhrmann.

According to investigators, the 49-year-old entered the gas station without a mask on Saturday evening and placed two six-packs of beer on the counter. The cashier pointed out the mask requirement, whereupon the man left the gas station.

An hour later he returned wearing a mask and placed another six-pack of beer at the cash register.

“There he pulled the mouth and nose cover down,” said Fuhrmann, adding that when the cashier again advised the man to comply with the mask requirement the perpetrator then pulled out a revolver and shot the 20-year-old in the head.

The suspect was arrested on Sunday morning in Idar-Oberstein.

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