Germany has suffered what is believed to be its first death resulting from a verbal tussle over mask regulations. The New York Times reports a 49-year-old man tried to purchase two six-packs of beer around 7:45pm on Saturday from a gas station in southwestern Germany that he entered without a mask. The 20-year-old student manning the register at the Idar-Oberstein station refused, saying he needed to adhere to the masking regulations, which have applied to German shops since nearly the start of the pandemic.
Police say the man returned to the store an hour later with a gun in his pocket, reports Deutsche Welle. ABC News reports the man was wearing a mask but pulled it down to speak with the clerk. The two exchanged words and then police say the man shot the younger man in the head. The suspect fled on foot and turned himself in the next day. The suspect allegedly said he opposed COVID restrictions and felt hugely stressed by the pandemic. Per Deutsche Welle, he "saw no other way out" than to "set an example."
He said he viewed the clerk as "responsible for the situation because he was enforcing the rules." The man is being held on suspicion of murder while police probe his electronics to determine whether they believe the killing was premeditated. Says the town's mayor: "Such a crime is unprecedented. It will take time to come to terms with it." (Read more face masks stories.)