BERLIN (AP) — Two more men have been arrested in connection with the killing of a politician from Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, prosecutors said Thursday. One of the men is accused of selling the gun allegedly used by the main suspect.
Walter Luebcke, who led the Kassel regional administration in central Germany, was shot dead at his home on June 2. A 45-year-old German man with a string of convictions for violent anti-migrant crime, Stephan Ernst, was later arrested as the alleged killer.
Officials said on Wednesday that Ernst has admitted carrying out the killing and that he acted alone. Federal prosecutors said Thursday that they have arrested two other Germans based on his statements to investigators.
One of them, a 64-year-old identified as Elmar J., is accused of selling Ernst the handgun allegedly used in the killing in 2016. The other, 43-year-old Markus H., is suspected of putting the seller in contact with Ernst. Both are suspected of being accessories to murder.
Investigators believe that both men were aware of the Ernst's right-wing extremist views, said Markus Schmitt, a spokesman for federal prosecutors.
"We also assume they believed it was possible, and accepted, that (the main suspect) would later use the firearms for a politically motivated killing," he said.
However, he added that there is currently no indication that they knew of the plan to kill Luebcke or were directly involved in carrying it out.
Ernst also told investigators that he himself had sold weapons to two other people, Schmitt said. Those two are under investigation by local prosecutors but there is no indication that they were involved in the Luebcke killing.
Luebcke was known for supporting the welcoming refugee policy that Merkel adopted during an immigration influx in 2015, when hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and persecution sought shelter in Germany.