Germany: 2 police officers shot dead during a traffic check

BERLIN (AP) — Two police officers were shot dead on a rural road in western Germany while on routine patrol Monday morning, police said.

The shooting occurred during a traffic stop near Kusel around 4:20 a.m., Kaiserslautern police said in a statement.

Officers announced by radio that shots were being fired, spokesman Bernhard Christian Erfort told n-tv television. But reinforcements who arrived on the scene were unable to help the 24-year-old woman and 29-year-old man.

Erfort said he wasn’t sure if officers saw anything specific on the attackers’ vehicle they wanted to check or if it was just a routine check.

German news agency dpa, citing unidentified security sources, said officers reported finding dead game in the car before the shooting began. The daily Bild also reported this discovery, without citing sources. But what exactly happened is unclear, as is the possible motive for the shooting.

Police have called on local drivers not to pick up hitchhikers in the Kusel area as they pursue the perpetrators there and in neighboring Saarland state.

Later Monday, they said they were looking for a 38-year-old man from nearby Spiesen-Elversberg who they identified as Andreas Johannes Schmitt in connection with the shooting. Police used helicopters and sniffer dogs in their search.

The young officer killed on Monday was still studying at a police academy, police union GdP said.

“Regardless of the motive, this crime is reminiscent of an execution and shows that the police risk their lives every day for our safety,” tweeted Home Secretary Nancy Faeser. She said “we will do everything” to catch the perpetrators.

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