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Police: Five killed in German hostage standoff

Daniel Roland / AFP - Getty Images

Policemen stand in front of an apartment building after a gunman seized at least four hostages, including a bailiff, during a home eviction in Karlsruhe, Germany, on Wednesday.

Five people were shot dead after a gunman facing eviction seized hostages in an apartment in the southern German city of Karlsruhe on Wednesday, police said.  

The dead were thought to be the shooter, apartment's current renter, a bailiff, a locksmith and the apartment's new renter, police spokesman Norbert Scharer told NBC News. 

"Special forces broke into the apartment after smelling smoke and found five dead bodies. Probably one of them is the gunman," Scharer told NBC News.

A social worker, who also belonged to the visiting group, was released during the hostage taking.

"They all died of gunshot wounds,'' a police spokesman told Reuters.

After shots were heard, officers from the police special response unit, some dressed in protective green suits and helmets, sealed off the area around the building in the north part of the city.

Police said they found a hand-grenade and a rifle in the apartment. 

Karlsruhe, with nearly 300,000 inhabitants, is located near the French border and is home to Germany's Constitutional Court.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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