German police: No tolerance for copycats after petrol station killing

Police in the German state where a petrol station employee was fatally shot in an argument about mask wearing stressed on Thursday that they would not tolerate “copycat crimes” after a man made a similar threat toward a supermarket employee.

The man had told the cashier in the Rhineland-Palatinate town of Schweich – about 50 kilometres west of Idar-Oberstein where the petrol station employee was killed – that he could shoot her after she pointed out the correct way to wear a face mask. He then left the supermarket.

Police identified a 56-year-old man from the city of Trier as a suspect, and a search warrant was issued for his residence. “On one hand threats are being looked into, and the announcement of criminal offences are a possibility,” according to a police spokesperson.

“We are taking firm action against such threats,” Trier police chief Friedel Durben said. “Such crimes intimidate the population and are not to be tolerated.”

At the weekend, the 20-year-old petrol station employee was shot in the head after apparently telling a man twice that masks were compulsory. A 49-year-old German man is currently in custody.

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