German police arrested two suspects for the murder of two officers shot dead during a traffic stop after launching a massive manhunt, authorities confirmed on Monday evening.
The two officers, a man, and a woman were shot dead during a routine traffic check at around 4:20 am on Monday on a road near Kusel, a town not far from Kaiserslautern in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
They were able to radio that shots were fired, spokesman Bernhard Christian Erfort told n-tv television.
Reinforcements were unable to help the officers — a 24-year-old woman and 29-year-old man — when they arrived.
Later Monday, police said they had arrested a suspect for whom they had put out a wanted notice.
The 38-year-old man from the region was apprehended in Sulzbach, about 37 kilometres from the scene of the shooting. Police said he didn’t give any information on the case after his arrest around 5 pm.
A second suspect, a 32-year-old man, was also detained. Investigators were working to determine whether he had anything to do with the shooting.
Earlier, police said they did not know the killers’ motives and urged motorists not to pick up hitchhikers, warning that at least one suspect was armed.
The search operation was extended to the neighbouring regional state of Saarland, not far from the French border, police said on Twitter.
“Regardless of the motive, this crime is reminiscent of an execution and shows that the police risk their lives for our security every day,” interior minister Nancy Faeser tweeted.
She said that “we will do everything” to catch the perpetrators.
According to the website of the daily Bild and the DPA news agency, the police officers sent a radio message shortly before they were killed, saying they had stopped a suspicious vehicle and found dead game in the boot.
Erfort said he didn’t know whether the officers had seen something particular about the assailants’ vehicle that they wanted to check or whether it was just a routine check.
The younger officer killed in Monday’s incident was still studying at a police academy, the GdP police union said.
Source: with agencies