Germany's Columbine

A quiet European cathedral town is the tragic site of one of the bloodiest school massacres in history

At first, students were convinced it must be some sort of practical joke. Felix Vater, 17, came out of a classroom to find one his teachers lying in the school hallway. "I felt his pulse and tried to talk to him," says Vater, "but he wasn't there anymore. You know blood from TV, and you just can't believe this is real." Denise Hoffman, 15, thought the three loud bangs she heard meant construction workers had dropped something. "Suddenly out of a room, a masked person appeared," she recalls. "Then he opened the door to another room and shot the teacher."

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