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(photo credit: AP)
A 17-year-old gunman dressed in black opened fire at his former high school in southwestern Germany on Wednesday, killing 15 people and injuring others before being shot dead by police.
Baden Wuerttemburg governor Guenther Oettinger said police shot the suspect after he fled the school. State Interior Minister Heribert Rech said three teachers were among the 15 dead. Police said at least 10 students were also killed in the attack.
It was Germany's worst shooting since another teenage gunman killed 16 people and himself in another high school in 2002.
"He went into the school with a weapon and carried out a bloodbath," said regional police chief Erwin Hetger. "I've never seen anything like this in my life."
After the attack, the suspect fled the Albertville high school toward the center of Winnenden, a town of 28,000, Hinderer said. The teenager graduated from the school last year, police said.
Witnesses said students jumped from the windows of the school building after the gunman opened fire. Concerned parents quickly swarmed around the school, which was evacuated during the incident.
The man entered the school at 9:30 a.m. and opened fire, shooting at random, police said. Police said the suspect was dressed in a black.
About 1,000 children attend the school, located in a suburb some 12 miles northeast of Stuttgart.
In 2002, 19-year-old Robert Steinhaeuser shot and killed 12 teachers, a secretary, two students and a police officer before turning his gun on himself in the Gutenberg high school in Erfurt.
Steinhaeuser, who had been expelled for forging a doctor's note, was a gun club member licensed to own weapons. The attack led Germany to raise the age for owning recreational firearms from 18 to 21.
Elsewhere, nine people were gunned down in a terrifying rampage across two Alabama counties by a lone shooter who authorities said burned down his mother's home with her inside, killed his own relatives on their porch and shot apparent strangers and police before killing himself.
Tuesday's shootings in a mostly rural area near the Florida border were believed to be the work of Michael McLendon, who lived with his mother and had once worked at a local metal plant.
The bloodshed began when McLendon burned down his mother's house in Kinston, according to Coffee County Coroner Robert Preachers. Authorities found Lisa McLendon's body inside, but they had not determined how she died or whether she was a 10th victim of her son's spree.
McLendon then drove about 19 kilometers southeast to Samson, in Geneva County, where he shot and killed nine victims, including four members of his family. The rampage ended another 12 miles farther east in Geneva at the metals plant where McLendon had once worked. After a shootout with police, McLendon killed himself.