BERLIN (AP) — A 16-year-old student was detained in Germany for allegedly plotting an attack on a local secondary school in the western city of Essen after police seized weapons and bomb-making materials from his apartment, authorities said Thursday.
An overnight search of the suspect’s apartment yielded bomb-making materials and large amounts of right-wing extremist, antisemitic and anti-Muslim writings in the teen’s possession, state interior minister Herbert Reul told a press conference. Essen police said they also found spears and other sharp weapons.
The student is suspected of plotting an attack on the Don-Bosco-Gymnasium, the school he currently attends, or another local school he previously attended, the Realschule am Schloss Borbeck, police said.
Police told the broadcaster ZDF that they had evidence of a crime in which “weapons played a role,” but didn’t offer more specifics.
Reul said the police search provided indications that the suspect “had massive mental problems and suicidal thoughts,” including recordings that could be seen as “an urgent call for help from a desperate young man.”
As of Thursday, the suspect was in police custody.
Both schools were closed Thursday because of the police operations. A statement on the Don-Bosco-Gymnasium’s website Thursday morning said they had “received indications that a crime was being planned at the school.”
Reul said Thursday afternoon that thus far, no bombs or bomb-related materials had been found at the schools.
Thomas Kutschaty, the state parliamentary leader of the center-left SPD, tweeted Thursday that reports of the alleged plot “shocked me deeply.” He praised the “high level of civil courage and the courageous intervention of the police” that kept students and teachers safe.