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People walk along the pedestrian zone in downtown Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. A German man was arrested in the downtown area on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, after firing a starter pistol in the street.
People walk along the pedestrian zone in downtown Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. A German man was arrested in the downtown area on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, after firing a starter pistol in the street. (Heather Benit/Stars and Stripes)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A German man caused a commotion downtown Wednesday when he fired multiple blank shots with a starter pistol, scaring and threatening shoppers before he was taken into custody.

A German SWAT team arrested the 35-year-old man inside a bar near the K in Lautern mall and transported him to a mental health facility, a police statement said.

The 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron also responded to a request for assistance from German police, the unit’s Facebook site said Wednesday.

The incident occurred around 4 p.m. in Kaiserslautern’s pedestrian area. The man was reported to have fired blanks from the pistol as he walked around the city, aiming the gun at others and threatening them, police said. No one was hurt.

Sections of the shopping district were closed off to the public for about 30 minutes.

Before walking downtown, the man reportedly pulled the gun on his neighbors during an argument, police said.

The man’s motives are not yet known and he remains in custody, Kaiserslautern police spokeswoman Christiane Lautenschlaeger said Thursday.

The Kaiserslautern area is home to about 50,000 U.S. military personnel and family members, and about 20 minutes from Ramstein Air Base.

kloeckner.marcus@stripes.com

svan.jennifer@stripes.com Twitter: @stripesktown

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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