Germany: Black Forest fugitive held after five days on the run

BERLIN (AP) — A man who disarmed four officers at gunpoint in southwestern Germany before fleeing into the Black Forest was arrested on Friday after a five-day manhunt that involved more than 2,500 police in total.

Police, including special forces and a sniffer dog, moved in after two witnesses reported seeing a man who fitted the profile of suspect Yves Rausch on Friday afternoon, Deputy Regional Police Chief Juergen Rieger said.

The suspect was found sitting in a bush with four handguns lying in front of him and a hatchet in his lap, as well as a document that officials have not yet evaluated but suspect was intended as a suicide note, Rieger told reporters in Oppenau — the small town where the drama started last Sunday.

Details of how exactly the arrest played out were sketchy but Rieger said efforts to talk to the suspect proved “somewhat difficult”. Rausch was slightly injured during the arrest, but not badly enough to be hospitalised, and a police officer suffered a superficial wound caused by the hatchet.

The four missing police weapons were recovered and an additional handgun found. The 31-year-old suspect, who could face charges of robbery by extortion, had yet to be questioned on Friday evening.

“I am very relieved — I think a line can be drawn under a really extraordinary situation for our little town,” Mayor Uwe Gaiser said.

Police officers stay outside a wooded area on a road near Oppenau, Germany. PHOTO: AP