Trial set in shooting of airmen at Frankfurt Airport

A fence surrounds the military bus where a gunman shot and killed two U.S. airmen and wounded two others at Frankfurt's international airport in this March photo.


By STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 5, 2011

STUTTGART, Germany — A 21-year-old Kosovo Albanian accused of killing two U.S. airmen outside Frankfurt Airport earlier this year will stand trial Aug. 31, according to the Frankfurt state court.

The U.S. Air Force servicemembers who witnessed the March 2 attack are likely to testify during the course of the trial, as well as a psychiatric expert. The trial is expected to take about 10 days, according to a statement from the court, and a decision is expected early next year. Court officials would not give further details.

German federal prosecutors charged Arid Uka in July with two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. He is accused of opening fire on a group of U.S. airmen, who were aboard an American-style school bus parked at Frankfurt Airport.

Uka, who law enforcement officials say confessed to the shootings soon after his capture, faces a possible life sentence if convicted, the most severe punishment in Germany.

The shooter’s motive for the attack was revenge for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, German prosecutors have said.

The airmen killed in the shooting were Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, and 21-year-old Airman 1st Class Zachary Cuddeback. Two other airmen, Staff Sgt. Kristoffer Schneider and Senior Airman Edgar Veguilla, were wounded.

In the wake of the shooting, U.S. forces in Europe took steps aimed at lowering the profile of its troops. Those steps included the Air Force suspending the use of conspicuous blue buses to transport airmen to and from the airport and troops being advised to avoid wearing their uniforms off post.

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