Investigations in the Hanau case stopped: weapons authority not responsible

The Hanau assassin had a firearms license, although he was mentally disturbed. Now the investigations against the weapons authority were closed.

shiny silver pistol

Gun license despite mental disorder: the assassin owned a Sig Sauer Photo: imago

BERLIN taz | As Tobias R., the assassin of Hanauon February 19, 2020 nine people and his mother shot, he used a Ceska and a Sig Sauer pistol. He was able to use both with an official gun ownership card – although the 43-year-old had previously became mentally disturbed and there were several investigations against him. In May 2021, the Hanau public prosecutor’s office had therefore, after a complaint from the family of the attack victim Hamza Kurtovicinvestigations into negligent homicide against the Main-Kinzig-Kreis weapons authority have now been discontinued.

The public prosecutor’s office announced on Thursday that there was “no sufficient suspicion of a criminal offence”. Because the weapons authority never found out about Tobias R.’s mental health problems. The authority would only have been obliged to hand over the procedure to Munich, where R. had lived for several years in the meantime. According to the public prosecutor’s office, his gun license would not have been revoked there either, based on the state of the files. A “quasi-causal” co-responsibility of the authority for the assassination therefore does not exist.

Tobias R. was in psychiatry as early as 2002

In fact, Tobias R.’s mental illness was no secret. He had had a gun license since 2013, which has been extended several times. He successfully passed several background checks.

As early as 2002, R. was admitted to a psychiatric ward in Munich for a short time after he went to the police and complained that he had been “psychologically raped” by the secret services. Two years later he also filed a complaint with the police in Southeast Hesse about alleged persecution by a secret service. This was noted there as paranoia and reported to the Hanau health department. From 2019, R. then sent letters to authorities and in the end also the federal prosecutor’s office, in which he expressed confused conspiracy theories. Alone: ​​According to the results of the investigation, the weapons authority found out nothing about all this.

And the investigations against Tobias R. – for social benefit fraud, narcotics violations, bodily harm, negligently causing a fire hazard or because he illegally carried a pistol in his car in 2009 – were all dropped. In 2008, Tobias R. slapped a security guard at the University of Bayreuth in the face and called him a “fat pig” after he had refused him entry to a sports center. In 2018, an escort woman called the police again because R. was threatening her. But none of this had any legal consequences.

According to the Hanau public prosecutor’s office, a rejection of the weapon’s reliability was “not mandatory” because of the settings. Only the case with the alarm pistol is a matter of discretion – but this was a long time ago at the time of the examination, which is why a withdrawal of the weapon license is not mandatory here either.

“A punch in the face”

Armin Kurtovic, father of Hamza Kurtovic, was disappointed with the decision. “No one wants to be responsible for anything in this act,” he told the taz. Kurtovic refers to the investigations into the barely reachable emergency call on the night of the crime and a locked emergency exit in the kiosk where his son was shot, which were also discontinued or rejected. “Everything is stopped,” complains Kurtovic. “It’s a slap in the face every time.”

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