2011 Frankfurt Airport shooting

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2011 Frankfurt Airport shooting
Part of Terrorism in Germany
Location Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Date 2 March 2011 (UTC+01)
Attack type
Spree shooting
Weapons FN P35 pistol (9mm)
Deaths 2
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrator Arid Uka

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.[1]

The shooting was the first deadly attack in Germany in which the perpetrator had an Islamist background.[2]


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.[3] He reportedly walked up to a waiting airman, asked him for a cigarette, and wanted to know whether the airmen were bound for Afghanistan.[4] 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!"[5][6] the attacker then entered the bus, shooting and killing the driver, and continued to fire three shots at two other airmen, wounding them.[4] 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.[7] He was subsequently arrested.[4]

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.[4][8]

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".[7]


Main article: Arid Uka
An improvised memorial to the victims, a few days after the attack. Wut, Trauer + warum? – Anger, mourning + why?

Arid Uka, the 21-year-old perpetrator, had not been previously known to German authorities.[9] 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.[3]

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,[3] but his Facebook page was reported to indicate contacts to Islamists from the Salafist movement,[9] including Sheikh Abdellatif, a noted Moroccan Islamist preacher living in Germany.[10] Der Spiegel reported that evidence held by German and United States authorities was claimed to link Uka to Islamist groups in Germany.[11]

Uka told investigators that a YouTube video showing American soldiers raping Muslim women motivated him to commit the shooting.[10] The edition of 6 March 2011 of the German television show Spiegel TV Magazin identified the video in question as a clip from Redacted, an American anti-war film.[12] The interior minister of the federal state of Hesse said that Uka had apparently been radicalized over the past few weeks.[3]


German prosecutors charged Arid Uka with two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.[9] 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.[13][14]

Uka was sentenced to life in prison on 10 February 2012. The court found that his guilt was particularly severe, which means that it is unlikely that he will be considered for parole after having served fifteen years.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Frankfurt airport gunman jailed for life". BBC News. 10 February 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Frankfurter Flughafen-Attentäter bekommt lebenslänglich". Die Zeit. 10 February 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012. Die Tat gilt als erster tödlicher Anschlag mit islamistischem Hintergrund in Deutschland. 
  3. ^ a b c d Pidd, Helen (3 March 2011). "Frankfurt airport shooting may have Islamist link, say police". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Frankfurt airport shooting: Jammed gun 'saved lives'". BBC News. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Sundby, Alex (3 March 2011). "Source: Air Force shooter shouted "Allahu akbar"". CBS News. 
  6. ^ Orr, Bob (3 March 2011). "Killer of U.S. airmen is radical Muslim, German official says". KRTV-TV. CBS News. 
  7. ^ a b Federal Minister Friedrich presents two Americans with Cross of the Order of Merit at bmi.bund.de, access date 18 December 2012
  8. ^ Gordts, Eline (10 February 2012). "Arid Uka, Frankfurt Airport Shooter, Sentenced To Life". Huffington Post. 
  9. ^ a b c "The World from Berlin: 'Germans Have to Distinguish between Muslims and Murderers'". Der Spiegel. 3 March 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Bartsch, Matthias (3 March 2011). "Facebook Jihad: The Radical Islamist Roots of the Frankfurt Attack". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  11. ^ Gebauer, Matthias (3 March 2011). "Fatal Shooting at Frankfurt Airport: German Investigators Suspect Islamist Motives behind Attack". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "Attentat: Vergewaltigungsvideo Auslöser?". Bild. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  13. ^ "Accused Frankfurt Airport gunman goes on trial". Deutsche Welle. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  14. ^ "Kosovo man admits Frankfurt airport Islamist attack". BBC News. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.