Austrian angry over divorce kills court official

AP News
Posted: Dec 16, 2009 5:25 PM

A drunk teacher unhappy with a judge's ruling in his divorce case returned to the courthouse Wednesday and fatally shot one of its employees, authorities said.

The gunman, 57, was arrested after gunning down a 42-year-old mother of two young children at the district courthouse in Hollabrunn, 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of Vienna, said Leopold Etz of the Lower Austrian criminal police force.

Wilhelm Tschugguel, an official who oversees the Hollabrunn court, told The Associated Press that the gunman was unhappy with the outcome of his divorce and was looking for the judge who had handled his case.

Tschugguel said the man started screaming when he couldn't find the judge and shot the victim when she tried to calm him.

The gunman had repeatedly complained about his divorce case, and on Tuesday had even called the Justice Ministry about it but "at no point in time were there any indications of a threat," Tschugguel said.

Franz Polzer, head of the Lower Austrian Bureau of Criminal Affairs, said the man was drunk at the time of the shooting and admitted to police that he wanted to kill the judge.

He shot the victim in the head and then fled, losing his pistol on the way out, Polzer said.

Police arrested him when he returned to the courthouse several minutes later.