Hotel suicide of disco murderer

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A FUGITIVE gunman, suspected of killing five people in France and Germany during a weekend shooting spree, committed suicide in a Luxembourg hotel room yesterday.

Jean-Michel Civardi, the head of police in Thionville in eastern France, said Gunter Hermann Ewen shot himself in the head as police raided a hotel in Strassen a suburb of Luxembourg, where he had been holed up since Monday morning. He was found sprawled on a bed. Police said a hotel employee recognised Ewen after seeing his photograph in a newspaper. He arrived at the hotel early on Monday, with no baggage and wearing dirty clothes. He then locked himself in a room and refused to let in cleaning staff.

Helicopters and hundreds of police accompanied by tracker dogs had been searching the thick forests of the Moselle region. Ewen had not been seen since Sunday, when he allegedly shot dead five people, including a Frenchman and his British wife. Ewen a 36-year-old road worker, was convicted in Germany in 1992 on a rape charge and was released from prison in 1996.

German prosecutors believe revenge may have been the motive for killing the couple, who had testified recently against Ewen on burglary charges. Ewen was from Beckingen, in the Saar region of western Germany near the French border.

Police said the violence began when he fired into a crowd of about 20 people at about 4am at a disco in Dillingen, in the Saar. A disco employee and a customer were killed and several other people wounded. The man then went to a nearby flat, killing Robert Fisne, 37 and his wife, Joey and gravely injuring their 11-year-old daughter. Ewen then fled across the border into France, killing a 39-year-old man and wounding two people while trying to steal cars. (AP)