SCHWEINFURT, Germany — It was a normal day Friday at 2nd “Dagger” Brigade’s home bases in Schweinfurt: People were shopping at the post exchange at Ledward Barracks, and troops were training for the Expert Infantryman’s Badge at Conn Barracks.

Even though a brigade soldier had been fatally shot by German police just hours before, few people knew about it. Those who had didn’t have many details.

Ilonka Quashie, the spouse of a Dagger Brigade soldier, said there was some gossip about the incident among the Schweinfurt community on Friday morning.

“They say it was a guy who beat his girlfriend,” she said while shopping at the PX. “He must have had a weapon for the German police to shoot him or maybe he tried to attack them. Who knows?”

Around 11 p.m. Thursday night, German police fatally shot a Dagger Brigade soldier during a confrontation. Just hours earlier, the soldier — whose name has not been released — tried to take his ex-girlfriend hostage in Altershausen, a small village northeast of Schweinfurt, German police said.

She managed to escape and alert police, who then started hunting for the soldier, using a helicopter with a thermal camera to locate him in an area near the apartment.

After being confronted, the soldier threatened police commandos with an M-4 rifle, according to a police statement. Police opened fire, critically injuring the soldier, who was rushed to a Schweinfurt hospital, where he died several hours later, police said.

But the news of the shooting hadn’t made it to everyone. A couple of soldiers in Schweinfurt said they hadn’t heard about the shooting until asked about it.

“That’s crazy. If we were in Fayetteville, N.C., maybe. But this is Germany,” said one 2nd Brigade soldier who didn’t want to give his name.

“I’ve been here for awhile and this is the first shooting I’ve heard of,” he added.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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