Slip of the tongue

Shooting at tugboat car was “not attempted murder”

09.07.2024 14:27

After months of investigations, including on suspicion of attempted murder, the Salzburg public prosecutor's office has reached a decision in the case of the two police officers who shot at a tugboat car: the case has been dropped and the officers will face no consequences. A shot from an assault rifle had only been fired because a female officer had slipped in the snow. 

The "Krone" had reported on the case several times: On December 11, early in the morning, a Romanian smuggler with ten Syrians sped away from the police. First the Bavarian officers, who then alerted their Pinzgau colleagues after the driver had reached Pinzgau via the Steinpass. The officers wanted to stop the fleeing van on the B311 near Saalfelden. The driver disregarded stop signs and roadblocks and continued to speed away. In the process, he is said to have tried to ram police cars. 

A roadblock set up by the police during the chase in Saalfelden. (Bild: Tschepp Markus, Krone KREATIV)
A roadblock set up by the police during the chase in Saalfelden.

Shots fired while driving
During the high-speed chase, a police officer fired two shots from his service pistol from the passenger seat. Splinters from the projectile also injured a Syrian man (19) in the car, who was wounded in the hand. Despite shots and shouts of "stop" from the fugitives, the driver drove on, but left the road and got stuck in the snow in a field a short time later.

Winter conditions prevailed at the time of the chase. (Bild: Tschepp Markus)
Winter conditions prevailed at the time of the chase.

The police officers arrived at the scene: "As the officers did not know who had fired the shots and whether there were any armed persons in the vehicle, they secured the car using an official long gun." The police officers asked the driver and the occupants to get out of the car with their hands up. A shot was then fired from the assault rifle. This projectile penetrated a side window and hit one of the fugitives in the head. The 27-year-old was seriously injured as a result.

Shot fired due to a slip
This incident led to an investigation on suspicion of attempted murder: however, as the public prosecutor's office has now announced, the "shot was fired unintentionally". More precisely: it happened when the officer "stumbled while walking backwards in deep snow". However, there will be no trial for possible negligent bodily harm, as the matter was declared settled with a diversion including a two-year probationary period. In the case of the police officer who fired his service weapon twice, the proceedings were dropped altogether.

The investigation against the Romanian driver, who has since been in custody, is still ongoing: he is accused of smuggling, resisting law enforcement, grievous bodily harm, damage to property and intentional endangerment of the public.

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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