Dead gardener targeted enemies with bombs, say German police

2019-03-07 13:23
German police officers observe a crime scene. (Patrick Rasche/dpa via AP)

German police officers observe a crime scene. (Patrick Rasche/dpa via AP)

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German police on Wednesday urged anyone who had a conflict with a recently deceased man to be wary, after a doctor was killed and a mother and daughter were injured by bombs apparently planted by him before he died.

Westpfalz police spokesperson Bernhard Christian Erfort told The Associated Press his office has received more than 60 calls to a hotline since it was established on Monday, primarily from people worried about contact they'd had with gardener Bernhard Graumann, who was found dead in his bed in the southwestern town of Mehlingen on Friday.

Graumann is believed to have planted a bomb outside the medical practice of a 64-year-old doctor in the nearby town of Enkenbach-Alsenborn that exploded on Friday morning, killing the physician.

A 37-year-old woman and her 4-year-old daughter were injured by glass splinters on Sunday when the woman put a log that had been rigged with explosives into her stove and it blew the door out.

Their injuries were not thought to be life threatening, but the child remained in the hospital for treatment Wednesday, Erfort said.

Planted the explosives

Graumann, 59, had been in conflict with both the doctor and with the family, and is thought to have planted the explosives before he died.

Police released his full name, which is unusual in Germany due to privacy laws, to alert anyone who might have had problems with him to be extra cautious.

Another rigged fireplace log was found later Wednesday in a woodpile at the home of a woman in a different town who had clashed with Graumann, police said. Bomb disposal experts destroyed the device in place rather than try to remove it.

Erfort wouldn't comment on media reports that Graumann is believed to have killed himself, saying autopsy results were not expected until next week. He did say there was no sign of foul play.

During a search of Graumann's home, investigators found black powder and other items that were "in violation of weapons and explosives laws", police said.

"It cannot be ruled out that the deceased made other preparations that could endanger further people," police said.

Police investigated a suspicious object at the home of a person who had been in an argument with Graumann, but it turned out to be a false alarm.

Area residents were also briefly panicked by a loud bang on Tuesday, but it turned out to be a sonic boom from a jet flying overhead.

People who knew Graumann said he was involved in re-enactments of scenes from the Middle Ages and had apparently used pyrotechnics as part of the performance.

"He always went to medieval festivals; had a knight's armour," acquaintance Siegfried Zech told RTL television. "He's also said to have had an explosives licence and have handled a lot with explosives and weapons, but supposedly he purchased all of that legally."

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