FRANKFURT, Germany — Two U.S. airmen were killed and two others were wounded at Frankfurt International Airport on Wednesday when a man opened fire on them at close range with a handgun, the first such attack on American forces in Germany in a quarter-century.
President Obama called the shooting an "outrageous act."
The alleged assailant, identified as a 21-year-old Kosovo man, was taken immediately into custody and was being questioned by authorities, said Frankfurt police spokesman Manfred Fuellhardt.
Family members in Kosovo described the suspect as a devout Muslim, who was born and raised in Germany and worked at the airport.
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The attacker got into an argument with airmen outside their military bus before opening fire, killing the bus driver and one other serviceman, and wounding two others, one of whom was in critical condition, Fuellhardt said. He said the attacker also briefly entered the bus.
The suspect then fled into the airport terminal, where he was quickly grabbed by two federal police officers and a U.S. airman who had pursued him into the building, authorities said. He was disarmed without incident.
The victims, part of a group of about a dozen members of an Air Force military police and base security unit, came to Frankfurt from RAF Lakenheath base in eastern England, which is home to an F-15 fighter jet wing.
After arriving at the airport, they boarded a bus with U.S. Air Force markings that was to take them to nearby Ramstein Air Base, which is often used as a logistical hub for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The two wounded airmen were taken to a hospital.
In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed sympathy for the victims and their families and pledged that Germany would do everything in its power to investigate the crime. "It is a terrible event," she said.
A tall blue barrier was erected around the bus as forensic experts examined it, and removed two bodies from the vehicle. As the bus was later towed away, a bullet hole was visible through the driver's side window.
The dead and wounded U.S. airmen were not identified pending notification of their families. A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Todd Vician, said the airmen were on their way to an overseas deployment to Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere.