A Sudanese asylum seeker was fatally shot over the weekend after he attacked police officers with a knife at a migrant shelter in Lower Saxony.
The ordeal began at around noon on Sunday when emergency services were first called to a home for asylum seekers in the town of Harsefeld after the 40-year-old Sudanese man had been seen acting aggressively while holding a knife. Although officers managed to calm the man down upon their arrival, they were called back to the scene a few hours later when the same man threatened other asylum seekers, Der Speigel reports.
Despite their best efforts to have the man admitted to the local psychiatric hospital, emergency services were ultimately unsuccessful and were subsequently called back for a third time at around midnight on Monday morning after receiving reports that the Sudanese asylum seeker had been threatening others with a knife. After arriving at the scene once more, officers were forced to open fire on the man when the man attempted to attack them with the knife, fatally injuring him in the process.
Now, the public prosecutor’s office in Stade has opened up an investigation into the matter to determine whether the police officers’ use of force against the asylum seeker was justified. Prosecutors in Stade will be conducting their investigations alongside the Cuxhaven Police Department.
The incident is the second of its kind to take place in the Stade district in the past few years. In 2019, police officers were forced to shoot a 19-year-old Afghan asylum seeker after he attacked them with an iron bar at a home for migrants in the small village of Bützfleth. Tragically, like the incident in Harsefeld, the migrant died from his injuries. In the months which followed the incident, an investigation carried out by the public prosecutor’s office determined that the police officers had acted in self-defense.
In 2017, a similar but more gruesome incident saw a 41-year-old Afghan man shot dead by police after he stabbed his five-year-old child to death and seriously injured his child’s mother at a shelter for asylum seekers in the Bavarian municipality of Arnschwang. Several people who were at the scene, including one of the police officers, had to be treated for severe emotional distress as a result of what they saw.
It was later revealed that the Afghan man was convicted of felony arson in 2009 after he tried to murder his then-wife and cousin by setting their home alight. For his crimes, he served just six years in prison.
According to the government of Upper Palatinate — one of the seven administrative districts in Bavaria — the Afghan man should have been deported following his prison sentence. However, he managed to stay in Germany by claiming his life would be in danger in Afghanistan because of his alleged conversion to Christianity.