Please verify

Watch LIVE

German Gunman's Pistol Jammed, Saving U.S. Airman


U.S. officials still won't call it a terrorist attack.

KARLSRUHE, Germany (The Blaze/AP) --The pistol used by the 21-year-old who admits killing two U.S. airmen at Frankfurt airport jammed with six rounds left, possibly saving the lives of other airmen, a German investigator said Friday.

Two other U.S. Air Force personnel were wounded in the attack Wednesday by Arid Uka, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo.

Uka refused to speak when formally charged Thursday before a judge with two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. But he made lengthy statements to police shortly after the attack, according to prosecutor Rainer Griesbaum.

Uka told authorities he had taken the FN 9mm pistol and two knives to the airport specifically to kill Americans "as revenge for the American mission in Afghanistan," Griesbaum said.

He said a YouTube video he saw the day before the attack allegedly showing a raid on a home by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan had inspired him to prevent "further cruelties."

When he saw the busload of 16 airmen parked outside Terminal 2 awaiting transport to the nearby Ramstein Air Base, he approached one standing outside and, under the pretext of asking for a cigarette, asked if they were servicemen were on their way to Afghanistan.

"When he said yes, he shot the 25-year-old serviceman from behind in the head," Griesbaum said.

Uka then stormed onto the bus, yelling "Allah Akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great!" — and shot the driver in the head, killing him as well, Griesbaum said.

He then shot twice at a 25-year-old airman seated on the bus, wounding him, then fired once at a 21-year-old airman, wounding him as well, Griesbaum said.

"Then he tried to shoot a 22-year-old," Griesbaum said. "He pointed his pistol at his head and pulled the trigger twice, but the pistol jammed and no shots came out."

Uka fled, and the airman he had tried to shoot chased him down in the airport terminal and overpowered him along with police.

None of the airmen were in uniform, except for the driver.

Despite the attacker's admission, U.S. officials have still stopped short of calling the incident a terrorist attack, sparking outrage by some:

The U.S. Air Force identified the two slain airmen as 25-year-old Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden of South Carolina, and Airman 1st Class Zachary R. Cuddeback of Virginia.

Alden was assigned to the 48th Security Forces Squadron at RAF Lakenheath in England. Cuddeback was assigned to the 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

German authorities believe that Uka recently became radicalized and acted alone — but Griesbaum said the incident shows there is a serious danger from what he called "virtual Jihad" even if extremists are not part of a radical network.

"It underscores the danger of Islamists acting alone," he said.

Police said Uka was shy and had few friends, and appeared to get his ideas not from mosque attendance or personal contact but from the Internet. He had not been observed at any of the mosques that German police keep under surveillance, they said.

Police said they have not been able to identify the video he said had inspired him to violence, or whether such a video even exists.

Griesbaum said the case underscored the threat from Internet extremism but added that the investigations could be slow and painstaking.

"Gathering the evidence is extremely difficult," he told reporters.


David Rising and Juergen Baetz contributed to this report from Berlin.

Most recent
All Articles