2011 Frankfurt Airport shooting
|2011 Frankfurt Airport shooting|
|Location||Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt am Main, Germany|
|Date||2 March 2011|
|Weapons||FN P35 pistol (9mm)|
The 2011 Frankfurt Airport shooting occurred on 2 March 2011 at Frankfurt Airport in Germany. The shooter, Arid Uka, was arrested and charged with killing two United States airmen and seriously wounding two others. He was sentenced to life in prison on 10 February 2012.
According to the German investigators, Uka targeted a United States Air Force bus parked outside the terminal building that was supposed to transport fifteen U.S. airmen to Ramstein Air Base. He reportedly walked up to a waiting airman, asked him for a cigarette, and wanted to know whether the airmen were bound for Afghanistan. When the airman said yes, according to German prosecutor Rainer Griesbaum, Uka waited for the airman to turn away and then shot him in the back of the head, killing him. Shouting "Allahu Akbar!" the attacker then entered the bus, shooting and killing the driver, and continued to fire three shots at two other airmen, wounding them. When he pointed his pistol at the head of another airman and pulled the trigger, the weapon jammed. Uka fled, but was pursued by the civilian airport employee Lamar Joseph Conner and Staff Sergeant Trevor Donald Brewer and shortly afterwards overpowered by two German police officers. He was subsequently arrested.
The two victims killed in the shooting were Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, of South Carolina and Airman First Class Zachary Cuddeback, 21, of Virginia. Staff Sgt. Kristoffer Schneider was shot in the right temple and lost his sight in one eye. The right side of his face had to be rebuilt with titanium, and he suffers head pain and seizures. Part of his skull also had to be removed after an infection. Edgar Veguilla was hit in the jaw and arm and suffered nerve damage.
Conner and Brewer later received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in a ceremony on 16 January 2012. Federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich presented the decoration, citing their "exemplary courage and action which helped the Federal Police arrest the suspect".
Arid Uka, the 21-year-old perpetrator, had not been previously known to German authorities. He was described in media reports as an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo and a devout Muslim, whose family had been living in Germany for 40 years. He had been working at the airport post office.
According to German authorities, Uka confessed to the killings when interrogated after the shooting. He reportedly insisted that he had acted alone and was not a member of a terrorist group, but his Facebook page was reported to indicate contacts to Islamists from the Salafist movement, including Sheikh Abdellatif, a noted Moroccan Islamist preacher living in Germany. Der Spiegel reported that evidence held by German and United States authorities was claimed to link Uka to Islamist groups in Germany.
Uka told investigators that a YouTube video showing American soldiers raping Muslim women motivated him to commit the shooting. The 6 March 2011 edition of the German television show Spiegel TV Magazin identified the video in question as a clip from Redacted, an American anti-war film. The interior minister of the federal state of Hesse said that Uka had apparently been radicalized over the past few weeks.
German prosecutors charged Arid Uka with two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. On trial before the Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt am Main in August 2011, Uka confessed to committing the shooting. He said that he was radicalized by jihadist propaganda videos, but apologized for what he did, adding that today he could not understand how he could have acted this way.
Uka was sentenced to life in prison on 10 February 2012. The court found that his guilt was particularly severe, which means that he will not be eligible for parole after having served fifteen years.
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- Federal Minister Friedrich presents two Americans with Cross of the Order of Merit at bmi.bund.de, access date 18 December 2012
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