Germany: Customer shoots petrol station worker dead after asked to put on face mask

Politicians in Germany expressed shock over the killing of a petrol station worker who asked a customer to wear a face mask, saying Covid-19  deniers using violence will not be tolerated.

The killing on Saturday evening in the western town of Idar-Oberstein has hit the national headlines for days now.

Prosecutors have said that the petrol station cashier, 20, had asked a 49-year old man who wanted to buy beer to comply with the rules and put on a mask.

The customer refused and left but returned later wearing a mask, which he pulled down when he approached the cashier who again referred to the rules.

“Then the perpetrator pulled a revolver and shot the cashier in the head from the front. The victim fell to the floor and was immediately dead,” prosecutor Kai Fuhrmann told reporters.

The suspect later gave himself up at a police station, saying the coronavirus measures were causing him stress, said Furhmann. He is being detained.

The killing comes a week before a federal election. Far rightwing Alternative for Germany (AfD) has tried to woo voters with an anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine campaign.

The party, at approximately 11 percent in polls, harbours many coronavirus deniers.

Politicians from far-right groups and so-called “Querdenker” who deny the coronavirus and who showed sympathy towards the killer.

“The hate and incitement coming from these people who can’t be taught divides our community and kills people. They have no place in our society,” tweeted Foreign Minister Heiko Maas who said Querdenker were celebrating the killing.

Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said it was disgusting how the killing had been misused to fuel hatred.