Second German massacre warning was a fake

Police closed a school in southwestern Germany today after a warning in an Internet chatroom that a gun attack was planned there, just two days after a deadly shooting rampage at a school nearby.

Officials have been on alert in Germany since a 17-year-old killed 15 people on Wednesday, many of them at his former school, in the town of Winnenden.

Teachers and pupils at a secondary school in Ilsfed near the town of Heilbronn had not been let inside the building this morning, a spokeswoman said. Officials were searching the premises with sniffer dogs.

Nothing suspicious was found and police and later gave the all-clear.

Police said they still had no clear idea about the motives of teenager Tim Kretschmer, who shot dead 12 people at his former school and three more outside before turning the gun on himself when police cornered him.

Officials were investigating a claim by the regional interior ministry that Kretschmer had posted a message in an Internet chatroom saying he planned to go to his former school with weapons and stage a "proper barbecue".

"An examination of his computer showed that the chat entry was not made from there," police spokesman Dieter Schneider said.

Police would again question two people who had pointed investigators to the chat entry, which was supposed to have been made during the night before the attack.

Neighbours in Winnenden described Kretschmer as a loner who had few friends and enjoyed watching violent videos. Media reports said he had sometimes accompanied his father to a shooting club.

Investigators said they had found pornographic pictures on his computer as well as violent video games. Kretschmer had received psychiatric treatment for depression between April and September before breaking off the sessions, officials said.

The Winnenden attacks have prompted a debate about weapons laws in Germany, with several politicians saying people should no longer be allowed to keep guns at home.

Kretschmer shot many of his victims in the head with his father's legally registered 9 mm Beretta pistol.

His father, member of a shooting club, had 15 guns at home. The other weapons were locked in a gun closet as required by law but the Beretta was in the bedroom, officials said. They were looking into whether to press charges against the father.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told Reuters in an interview yesterday Germany did not need tighter laws.

"I can't see how a change in weapons rules would contribute anything to solving the problem," Schaeuble, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said.

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