Fatal shooting in Austrian army barracks

Fatal shooting at Austrian Army barracks

Fatal shooting in Austrian army barracks

Fatal shooting in barracks: officer arrested

When photographers arrive at the airfield barracks in Wiener Neustadt shortly after the crime, military police officers are just hanging the entrance with camouflage nets. The police investigation is already underway at this time. At 6:55 a.m. Friday, several shots had been fired at the barracks in Lower Austria shortly before a changing of the guard. A 20-year-old basic military serviceman is now dead. The non-commissioned officer who is said to have shot him was taken to hospital injured. The case has shaken the armed forces. An overview of what is known about the incident.

Question: What exactly happened?

Answer: On Friday shortly before 7 a.m., several shots were fired at the airfield barracks in Wiener Neustadt. One of them will be fatal. Present at the time of the incident are four basic military servicemen and a non-commissioned officer. A changing of the guard should have taken place at the barracks at 8 am. Guardsmen are on site to protect the entrance to the barracks area. Two of the basic conscripts would have finished their 24-hour duty at 8 a.m., and the other two were to take over. Between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m., the soldiers usually prepare their duty and equipment for this purpose, and between 7:30 and 8 a.m., the relief takes place. One of the soldiers, who would have finished his duty, was shot beforehand – apparently by his superior, the sergeant on duty.

Question: How could this happen?

Answer: The investigation is being conducted by the Homicide and Crime Scene Group of the State Criminal Police Office. The Armed Forces report that the basic conscript who was shot had threatened the three other basic conscripts beforehand. The non-commissioned officer on duty intervened and was then attacked by the conscript. The recruit allegedly struck the superior officer with his weapon. The shots were fired. The sergeant was injured and taken to the hospital. According to the police, he suffered lacerations – but no gunshot wounds. Questioning is to reconstruct whether it was self-defense.

Question: What is known about the deceased conscript?

Answer: The recruit joined the army in September of the previous year in Hörsching in Upper Austria. He completed rifle training and training as a guard soldier and guard commander. He had been on duty at the airfield barracks since mid-October 2022. He had no criminal record.

Question: What weapon did the basic soldier carry?

Answer: Guard soldiers are armed with a 77 assault rifle – in a semi-loaded state. This means that the magazine with the ammunition is plugged in, but there is no cartridge in the barrel. There are 30 rounds in the magazine.

Question: What is known about the sergeant who allegedly fired the fatal shot?

Answer: The 54-year-old non-commissioned officer from Burgenland has been with the Austrian Armed Forces since 1987 and at the airfield barracks since 2007. He is also blameless, according to the Army. Once or twice a month, he performs guard duties such as the one on Friday as the supervisor of the basic conscripts on duty.

Question: What weapon did the sergeant carry?

Answer: As an NCO on guard duty, he carried a handgun, specifically a Glock 17. The pistol is carried in a safety holster when loaded. In the magazine there are 17 rounds of ammunition, caliber nine millimeters.

Question: Did the soldier who later died also fire shots?

Answer: That was unclear for the time being. So far, there is no confirmed information that shots were fired from the basic soldier’s weapon. In any case, three shots were reportedly fired – and from the NCO’s pistol. According to the army, the sergeant himself fired at least one of them, the fatal shot.

Question: What happens now?

Answer: An investigative commission has been set up. Among other things, it is to clarify how it came about that shots were fired. An initial report should be available after 48 hours.

Question: Which units are housed in the airfield barracks?

Answer: The airfield barracks are located in the northeast of Wiener Neustadt in the area of the airfield. Parts of the Fighter Command, the Military Command of Lower Austria and the Air Support Wing are housed there.

Question: Wasn’t there already an incident in Wiener Neustadt a few years ago? What happened then?

Answer: The airfield barracks were the scene of a fatal dog attack in November 2019. A soldier had been attacked and killed by German shepherd dogs at that time. The 31-year-old had been responsible, among other things, for exercising and feeding the animals. A preliminary investigation against the dog handler responsible and those in charge of the army was discontinued at the end of 2020.

Katharina Mittelstaedt

Source & Photo: Der Standard – Foto: APA/FLORIAN WIESER Translated frrom the German

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