Human Rights

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German police question authenticity of homepage

Reuters News Agency
Sunday, April 28  Online Edition, Posted at 11:26 AM EST

Erfurt, Germany German police said on Sunday they were investigating a Web site which may have been set up by the 19-year-old who shot dead 18 people including himself at his former high school. They said, however, that the homepage appeared to have been updated by someone else several hours after Robert Steinhaeuser's death, prompting speculation that it was a hoax. Casting further doubt on the authenticity of the site, Erfurt deputy police chief Detlev Schum said the computer taken from the killer's home did not have access to the Internet.

"We cannot say whether it was Robert Steinhaeuser's homepage although his picture was on it," Mr. Schum said. A sketch of one of the weapons Mr. Steinhaeuser carried but did not use during his assault, a pump-action shotgun, "indicates that it (the Web site) might have been his work," Mr. Schum said.

Police Chief Manfred Grube said the Web site appeared to paint a very precise profile of Mr. Steinhaeuser but noted it was updated hours after he had killed himself on Friday, after carrying out Germany's worst post-war mass murder. "Someone else obviously had access to this homepage ... several hours after he died," Mr. Grube said. "It could be either a hoaxer, who wants to get a bit of publicity, or there could be a second person who had access to the homepage of [Steinhaeuser]," Mr. Grube told a news conference. "We are still looking into it," he added.

The alleged homepage contains much of the information about Mr. Steinhaeuser that was published in the media on Saturday in the wake of the shooting, including a photograph reproduced in many newspapers. People who have added comments to the Web site's guestbook have left messages saying it is a fake. The banner headline on the Web site reads "Teachers and other low life forbidden" but the first link on the site is to Gutenberg high school which expelled him in February.

The Web site signs off with a line from rock band Pink Floyd's 1979 hit, Just Another Brick in the Wall: "Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone."

See also: How a teacher stopped the massacre