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German police hunt forest for well-armed man who disarmed officers

Germany Manhunt
Police officers patrol a wooded area on a road near Oppenau, Germany, July 13, 2020, amid a search for a 31-year-old man who disarmed four officers at gunpoint on July 12, 2020. Sven Kohls/dpa/AP

Berlin — Hundreds of German police were involved in a manhunt Monday for a 31-year-old man in camouflage clothing who disarmed four officers at gunpoint a day earlier and then fled into the forest with a pistol, knife and a bow and arrow.

Authorities warned residents in the southwestern town of Oppenau to stay indoors while officers, supported by tactical teams, sniffer dogs and helicopters, combed the surrounding rough terrain.

In an unusual step, authorities publicly identified the suspect by name as Yves Etienne Rausch, saying he was known to police for previous firearms offenses, was likely carrying several guns and could be violent.

"Beware!... The wanted man has several guns!" the local police said in a statement distributed via social media, warning local drivers not to stop for hitch-hikers.

Germany's air traffic control agency declared a no-fly zone of 3.5 miles in the Black Forest region around Oppenau.

Germany Manhunt
Police officers are seen in Oppenau, Germany, July 13, 2020, as hundreds of officers help hunt for a 31-year-old man who disarmed four officers at gunpoint on July 12, 2020. Philipp von Ditfurth/dpa/AP

Police were alerted early Sunday by a member of the public about a suspicious person carrying a bow and arrow. Officers found Rausch and conducted an ID check.

The police said he initially cooperated but then suddenly pulled a gun on the officers, threatening them and forcing them to hand over their service weapons. Nobody was injured in the incident, about 19 miles from Germany's border with France.

"Suddenly he pulled out his pistol and aimed at the officers," a police spokesman said earlier. "They were totally stunned… they had no chance to react to the dangerous situation."

Rausch, described as being around 5 feet, 7 inches tall, bald, with a goatee beard and needing glasses, is believed to have been living in the forest for weeks, according to the regional police office in Offenburg.

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