Two American troops killed in Frankfurt
- NEW: The suspect fired until his weapon jammed and he fled, a German official says
- He set out to kill American troops, the official adds
- Two U.S. airmen were killed and two others were wounded in Frankfurt Wednesday
- Barack Obama and Angela Merkel express sadness at the attack
Frankfurt, Germany (CNN) — The man who shot and killed two American troops in Germany Wednesday was a recently radicalized Muslim whose aim was to kill American troops, a German official said Thursday.
The suspect seems to have been acting on his own, but had spent time on local radical Islamist websites, said Boris Rhein, interior minister of the German state of Hesse, where the shooting took place.
The 21-year-old man from Kosovo is in custody after two U.S. airmen were killed and two others were wounded Wednesday in a shooting on a U.S. military bus at Frankfurt Airport, authorities said.
The suspect is named Arid Uka, from the northern town of Mitrovica, Kosovo’s interior minister, Bajram Rexhepi, told CNN, citing the U.S. Embassy in Pristina as his source.
He went up to the servicemembers to make sure they were American troops, then opened fire, Rhein said Thursday. At some point the weapon jammed and he fled, the official added.
The weapon was a 9mm handgun which was illegally purchased, Rhein said.
The gunman was a postal worker at the Frankfurt airport, but worked outside the secure area.
American authorities are participating in the investigations as observers, the minister said Thursday.
Uka approached the bus, which was parked outside Terminal 2 and was clearly marked as a U.S. military vehicle, German police said Wednesday after the shooting.
He first engaged U.S. servicemembers in a conversation, then pulled out a handgun and began firing — first outside the bus and then inside it, police said.
Afterward, he fled, making it into the terminal, where he was taken into custody by German federal police, according to police.
Uka has passports from Germany and from Yugoslavia, the latter of which was issued prior to Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008, Rexhepi said.
A U.S. military official said the bus driver was among the dead. Both fatalities were U.S. Air Force airmen from Lakenheath base in Britain, the official said.
The two wounded were security forces who were on their way to a deployment, said the source, who did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident.
He would not say where they were to be deployed.
U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters Wednesday he was “saddened and outraged” by the attack. “We will spare no effort in learning how this outrageous attack took place,” he said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said how upset she was by the incident, expressed her condolences to the troops’ families and stressed that Germany will “do everything we can to try and find out quickly what happened.”
FBI agents were on the scene shortly after the shooting occurred, said Tom Fuentes, a former FBI assistant director and CNN contributor.
The FBI’s main office in Germany is in the capital Berlin, he said, but it has a suboffice in Frankfurt.
The offense is a federal crime both in the United States and in Germany, he said, and could be prosecuted in either location, although that will be determined later. However, the investigation will meet U.S. constitutional standards, he said.
Authorities will be investigating the suspect’s background and associates, likely subpoenaing telephone and e-mail records, Fuentes said.
CNN’s Ashley Hayes and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.
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