A German petrol station assistant has been shot dead for attempting to enforce mask-wearing rules, as politicians warned of “radicalisation” among anti-lockdown activists.
A 49-year-old man admitted to shooting the petrol station cashier at the weekend after his victim asked him to put a face mask on.
The man was attempting to buy two six-packs of beer but was told by the cashier that he had to cover his mouth and nose.
The man left the building and made a threatening gesture only to arrive again shortly afterwards wearing a mask, prosecutors in the city of Trier said.
After he took off his mask at the counter, leading the cashier to once again remind him of the rules, he pulled out a gun and shot the 20-year-old in the head, killing him instantly.
The gunman fled the scene but later turned himself in to police.
Olaf Scholz, Chancellor candidate for the Social Democrats, said he was “deeply shocked that someone has been killed because he wanted to protect himself and others.”
“As a society, we must stand resolute against such hatred,” he added.
Green party leader, Annalena Baerbock, said that crime was proof of “radicalisation”.
The perpetrator, who had no previous criminal record, justified his crime by saying that he had seen “no way out” due to the pandemic restrictions.
He said he saw his victim as “responsible for the whole situation due to the fact that he was enforcing the rules,” chief prosecutor Kai Fuhrmann said at a press conference on Monday.
It was the first time a murder in Germany has been linked to anger at pandemic restrictions.
Germany’s domestic intelligence services have warned in recent months that the “Querdenker movement”, which has rallied against lockdowns and the vaccine programme, is becoming increasingly radical and has links to the country’s far-right.