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Suspect in Frankfurt Airport shootings described as quiet, not violent

FRANKFURT, Germany — A former teacher, former employer and former classmates of the Kosovo Albanian charged with killing two U.S. airmen at Frankfurt Airport last March testified Monday at his trial that he was quiet and reserved and not at all violent.

 At the start of his trial in August, Arid Uka, 21, confessed to killing Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, and Airman 1st Class Zachary Cuddeback, 21, who was the driver of the bus that was to take a group of airmen to Ramstein en route to a deployment in Afghanistan. Uka is also charged with three counts of attempted murder. Staff Sgt. Kristoffer Schneider and Senior Airman Edgar Veguilla were wounded in the March 2 shooting. When Uka pointed the gun at another airman, Staff Sgt. Trevor Brewer, 23, the gun jammed.

Uka told the court in August that he was influenced by jihadist propaganda on the Internet. He said he wanted to prevent American servicemembers from going to Afghanistan, where he said he believed they would rape Muslim girls.

In testimony Monday, a former teacher of Uka’s said Uka had not been especially interested in politics or Iraq in class, and had missed a lot of school.

Margit Kablan, Uka’s former employer at the Green Crescent organization, which offers care primarily to Muslim immigrants, where he worked in 2009 and 2010, said Uka had been quiet, dependable and that two patients he had helped liked him.

His friends said he and they spent their time playing video games, especially “Call of Duty,” a warfare video game.

One 19-year-old friend said Uka had sent him videos of operations in Iraq that Uka was convinced showed Americans killing civilians. He said Uka was angry about the war in Iraq and what he said the Americans were doing there, but that he did not dislike Americans in general.

A forensic psychiatrist, although present in the courtroom, did not testify as scheduled on Monday. Court officials said he would testify on Dec. 19.

A murder conviction in Germany carries a life sentence. But parole is possible after 15 years, and there is no sentence of “life without parole.”

The trial is scheduled to continue intermittently through January.

montgomeryn@estripes.osd.mil

abramsm@estripes.osd.mil

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