A young gunman, 18-year-old, opened fire in an auditorium at Heidelberg University in south west Germany on Monday, injuring four people. One of those shot in the incident, a woman, was seriously injured and later died and the suspect is dead. Probably he killed himself. The shooter, unknown to police, was a biology student. He sent a WhatsApp message shortly before the incident, saying that unspecified people would be “punished.” A motive of the incident was not discovered. Police said they found a backpack belonging to the shooter containing a large amount of ammunition. Police asked motorists to drive around or bypass Neuenheimer Feld in Heidelberg so that rescue workers and emergency services could reach the scene. Over 400 police officers were involved in the subsequent investigation. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was shocked by the shooting. Heidelberg Mayor Eckart Würzner said it was “hard to believe” that a shooting like this could happen in the city.
Heidelberg University, founded in 1386, is the oldest in Germany. It has over 30,000 students. The university has a dozen academic divisions: theology, law, philosophy, modern languages, economics and social sciences, behavioral and cultural studies, math and computer science, chemistry and earth sciences, physics and astronomy, biosciences and two medical facultiesJust less than 20 percent of the total student body is international. The university collaborates with several outside organizations on research activities, including the German Cancer Research Centre, the European Laboratory for Molecular Biology and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies. Heidelberg returned to in-person learning in October after being in a lockdown for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.