|A woman lights a candle near Albertville secondary school in Winnenden, Germany, where students were killed. (John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)|
Parents didn't see shooter's 'despair'
BERLIN - The family of a German teenager who killed 15 people in a shooting spree said yesterday the deaths left them agonizing over how they failed to "notice his despair and hatred."
Expressing their shock and sorrow, Tim Kretschmer's parents and sister said they never imagined him being capable of gunning down nine students and three teachers at his former high school, then slaying three bystanders before taking his own life.
"We keep asking ourselves over and over again how this could happen? Why we didn't notice his despair and hatred?" they asked in an open letter addressed to the victims, their first public statement since the killings last Wednesday.
"Until this terrible event we were a completely normal family," they wrote. "We never thought Tim capable of something like this and knew him as a different person."
Prosecutors in Stuttgart said preliminary results of an autopsy confirmed that Kretschmer died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. The fatal shot came amid a shootout with police, and prosecutors said he was also struck by two police bullets - one to the ankle, the other to his knee.
The Kretschmer family statement was released a day after authorities said they were investigating Tim Kretschmer's father on involuntary manslaughter charges for failing to secure the pistol used in the attack.