German city siege ends peacefully
Deputy mayor of German town released by hostage-taker five hours after siege began
German special police forces arrive to attend the scene, in Ingolstadt today. A man took a number people hostage in the townhall of Ingolstadt, just hours before chancellor Angela Merkel was due to hold a speech in front of the building in the southern German city. Police said the man said he was armed, and they were in contact with him by telephone. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters
Emergency vehicles stand in a cordoned off street in front of the town hall during the hostage situation. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters
Police said there was no sign of a connection with Dr Merkel’s visit to the town. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters
A gunman who took three people hostage at a German city hall, forcing chancellor Angela Merkel to cancel a planned election rally there has been captured and his captives rescued unharmed.
The hostages included a deputy mayor of the Bavarian city of Ingolstad, who was released first.
German news agency reports said the gunman had previously stalked a female employee at the city hall.
The incident began several hours before Dr Merkel was due in the city for a rally that was to take place on the square in front of the city hall. Germany holds national elections on September 22nd, and Bavaria votes in a state election a week earlier.
There was no indication of any connection between the visit and the hostage-taking. However, Dr Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union said it decided to cancel the rally.
The old city hall, one of two city halls in Ingolstadt, dates back to the 14th century, though the building was expanded in the 19th century. It is home to the mayor’s office and the city’s tourist information office, among other administrative departments.