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Army civilian in Germany faces investigation after fatally stabbing home invader

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By JOHN VANDIVER AND MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 12, 2019

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — An Army civilian who fought off home invaders with a kitchen knife during an attempted robbery is facing an investigation into whether he acted in self-defense when he fatally stabbed one of the perpetrators, German authorities said Tuesday.

After dark on Sunday, four men rang the doorbell, then pushed their way into the American family’s Landstuhl home, prompting the 41-year-old Army civilian to fight back, the Zweibruecken prosecutor’s office said in statement.

“The family’s father used a kitchen knife among other things to defend himself and injured one of the perpetrators with several stabs,” the statement read.

Police said they must determine whether the father of three acted in self-defense or used excessive force in his response.

Prosecutor Iris Weingardt could not say how long the probe will take. Facts needed to be gathered and “only then can a legal evaluation follow,” Weingardt said.

In Germany, if a person is convicted of inflicting bodily harm that causes death, prison sentences are typically “not under three years,” she said.

The police account of the break-in, however, suggests the American family was threatened during the confrontation. The man and his spouse suffered minor injuries when the attackers stormed into their home, investigators said. Their three children, who were at home at the time, were unhurt.

The American’s resistance forced the burglars to flee, the prosecutor’s office said.

The burglars fled by car, but stopped in the village of Krickenbach, about 15 kilometers southeast of Landstuhl. They laid the 43-year-old injured man on the sidewalk. One of the men, the older brother of the injured man, asked a witness to call for medical help, officials said.

The wounded man died at the scene from blood loss related to puncture wounds, investigators said, citing an autopsy result. His 51-year-old brother was arrested and charged with attempted robbery.

Police continue to search for the other two suspects who fled the scene.

vandiver.john@stripes.com
Twitter: @john_vandiver

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