CNN: WINNENDEN, Germany (CNN) — The teenaged gunman who killed 15 people in Germany targeted young women on his shooting spree, methodically shooting them in the head, police say. Tim Kretschmer, 17, began his rampage Wednesday at a school where he used to be a student in Winnenden, a small town about 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of Stuttgart. Most of the victims at the school were female — eight female students, three female teachers and one male student, said Heribert Rech, interior minister for Baden Wuerttemberg region. Rech said: “They were completely taken by surprise. Some of the victims still had their pens in their hands.” Video Watch more on probe into attack Kretschmer opened fire in three first floor classrooms, including a physics lab where a teacher was found dead behind her desk, Rech told a news conference. Rech said police arrived in minutes. “This speedy intervention means they prevented further escalation of events.”
As the first police arrived at the school, he fled and killed a person working in a hospital nearby, then hijacked a car, taking the driver hostage. He drove towards the nearby town of Wendlingen, but the car crashed on a sharp bend, Rech said. The driver escaped and called police as Kretschmer ran away and towards a car salesroom in Wendlingen where he shot a salesperson and a customer, Rech said. Video Watch the gunman’s deadly route. “Police officers in civilian clothes opened fire and shot several times. The perpetrator tried to escape and was shot at least once in the leg. … A little later he was found dead,” he added. It was not clear if he died from injuries received in the police shootout or if he committed suicide. Regional police chief Erwin Hetger said police thought he had killed himself. Kretschmer was on the loose for three and a half hours after the incident began, police said
Security at German schools has been an issue in the past. In November 2006, an 18-year-old former student strapped explosives to his body and went on a rampage at a middle school in western Germany, shooting and wounding six people — most of them students — before killing himself. In July 2003, a 16-year-old student shot a teacher before taking his own life at a school in the southern German town of Coburg. A year earlier, 18 people were killed when an expelled student went on a shooting spree at his school in eastern Germany. MORE
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Reporting from Samson, Ala. — First, he killed his mother. That, according to Alabama officials, was the first chilling act in Michael Kenneth McLendon’s [pictured,above] trail of carnage across southern Alabama on Tuesday. He killed 10 people, injured six and left a string of small communities wondering what motivated a quiet young man to obliterate the peaceful rhythms of rural Southern life in March. McLendon took off down state Highway 52 in a little red Mitsubishi, passing bucolic scenes of ryegrass, cows and hay bales. He was wearing khaki pants and a vest with ammunition pockets. He was also loaded with weapons: two assault rifles, a shotgun, a .38-caliber handgun, a Russian semiautomatic carbine, and a military-style Bushmaster rifle. MORE
ASSOCIATED PRESS: Here is a glance at some of the worst U.S. mass shootings in recent years:
_ March 10, 2009: Michael McLendon, 28, killed 10 people — including his mother, four other relatives, and the wife and child of a local sheriff’s deputy — across two rural Alabama counties. He then killed himself.
_ Feb. 14, 2008: Former student Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, fatally shooting five students and wounding 18 others before committing suicide.
_ Dec. 5, 2007: Robert A. Hawkins, 19, opened fire with a rifle at a Von Maur store in an Omaha, Neb., mall, killing eight people before taking his own life. Five more people were wounded, two critically.
_ April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, fatally shot 32 people in a dorm and a classroom at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, then killed himself in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
_ Oct. 2, 2006: Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, shot to death five girls at West Nickel Mines Amish School in Pennsylvania, then killed himself.
_ March 21, 2005: Student Jeffrey Weise, 16, killed nine people, including his grandfather and his grandfather’s companion at home. Also included were five fellow students, a teacher and a security guard at Red Lake High School in Red Lake, Minn. He then killed himself. Seven students were wounded.
_ March 12, 2005: Terry Ratzmann, 44, gunned down members of his congregation as they worshipped at the Brookfield Sheraton in Brookfield, Wisconsin, slaying seven and wounding four before killing himself.
_ March 5, 2001: Charles “Andy” Williams, 15, killed two fellow students and wounded 13 others at Santana High School in Santee, Calif.
_ July 29, 1999: Former day trader Mark Barton, 44, killed nine people in shootings at two Atlanta brokerage offices, then killed himself.
_ April 20, 1999: Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school’s library. MORE
GUS VAN SANT: Elephant