BERLIN, Germany (AP) — A far-right extremist suspected in the killing of a politician from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party has told authorities that he acted alone, but investigators are still probing whether anyone else was involved, Germany’s top security official said Wednesday.
Walter Luebcke, who led the Kassel regional administration in central Germany, was fatally shot in the head at his home on June 2. A 45-year-old German man with a string of convictions for violent anti-migrant crime, Stephan Ernst, was later arrested as the alleged killer.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told reporters after he and Germany’s chief federal prosecutor appeared before parliament’s home affairs committee that the suspect had confessed. He “says himself that he was a lone perpetrator, but of course that is not the end of the investigation for us,” Seehofer added. “The effort to clear up this political killing is not concluded with this.”
Authorities will continue to check thoroughly “whether there were accessories or even fellow perpetrators,” he added. “We will also clear up intensively in what circles the suspected perpetrator moved in.”
Luebcke was known for supporting the welcoming refugee policy that Merkel adopted during an immigration influx in 2015, when hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and persecution sought shelter in Germany.
The suspect was known to police as a far-right extremist with convictions for violent crimes dating from the late 1980s to 2009, German media have reported. They include a 1993 pipe bomb attack on a refugee shelter in Hesse state, where Kassel is located.
Yet the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence service has said that he hadn’t been on the agency’s radar for the past decade.
The slaying has evoked memories of the National Socialist Underground, a neo-Nazi group that killed 10 people in Germany — mostly immigrants — between 2000 and 2007. Authorities only connected the killings to far-right activity in 2011, when two of the group’s three core members died after a botched bank robbery.
Last week, police said they were investigating a series of threats sent to officials and institutions days after Ernst’s arrest. It was unclear whether they were linked to Luebcke’s killing.