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Student in ax attacks vowed 'apocalypse'

A teen who used an ax, knives and Molotov cocktails in an attack that injured nine people had marked the date in his calendar with the words "apocalypse today," prosecutors said Friday.
Students reflect Friday at a makeshift memorial outside the high school in Ansbach, Germany, where a student injured nine people a day earlier.TIMM SCHAMBERGER / AFP-Getty Images
/ Source: The Associated Press

An 18-year-old who stormed his school armed with an ax, knives and Molotov cocktails in an attack that injured nine people had marked the date in his calendar with the words "apocalypse today," German prosecutors said Friday.

Ansbach State Prosecutor Juergen Krach said the teen remained hospitalized and could not be questioned, but a search of his home turned up the calendar on which he had marked Sept. 17, and a handwritten will.

State Prosecutor Gudrun Lehnberger said the will was dated Sept. 11. She added that the search turned up no threats against specific students or people. The attacker's motive remains unclear.

"I can confirm that the perpetrator was undergoing psychotherapeutic treatment," Lehnberger said.

Krach said police have questioned the student's parents.

The teenager, whose name has not been released because of German privacy laws, injured eight fellow students and a teacher just after classes started at 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning. Police responding to a student's emergency call shot the attacker in a hallway.

Six students were burned
The injured teacher and six pupils suffered burns after the attacker lit Molotov cocktails and threw them into an 11th-grade classroom, police said, but none of their injuries was life-threatening. A 15-year-old female student who was struck on the head with the ax is still in critical condition. Another 15-year-old female student was treated for second-degree burns and smoke inhalation.

Some 700 students fled the Carolinum high school, a nearly 500-year-old institution on the cobbled streets of Ansbach, Bavaria.

Police said it is not clear if the attacker, who had no police record, purposely selected his victims.

The attacker was shot five times in the upper body during his arrest, 11 minutes after police responded to a call from a student who smelled smoke and activated the fire alarm. Many pupils thought it was a routine fire drill and only learned later what had happened.

Frank Stark, a rector at the school, told reporters Friday that the attacker had signed up for a class trip to Rome with 65 other students that was scheduled to begin the day of the attack.

"They would normally have left yesterday and stayed in Rome for a week," Stark said.

Students get counseling
Stark said roughly 150 of the school's 700 students and their parents were gathered in the school's gym Friday for meetings with psychologists and others. The school was closed until next week.

Doctors plan to bring the teen out of a medically induced coma on Friday.

Krach said prosecutors do not expect to question him immediately, but will execute their warrant on charges of attempted murder.

It was the latest in a series of violent attacks on schools in Germany in the past decade and the second this year.

In March, 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer fatally shot 12 people at his former school in the southwestern town of Winnenden. He fled the building and killed three more people before turning the gun on himself.

Teacher and police union leaders said the attacks showed that more counselors and better monitoring systems are needed to prevent such incidents.

"At least one social worker and one psychologist belong in every school in Germany," Rainer Wendt, leader of a major German police union, told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper.