NEWS

Student shoots three in spree then kills self

A 19-year-old student of a vocational training college opened fire at the school in Rendi, western Athens, yesterday morning, seriously injuring a fellow student and hurting two passers-by before turning the gun on himself. In an unprecedented incident for Greece that fueled debate about laws governing gun ownership, Dimitris Patmanidis, an ethnic Greek from Georgia, walked into the college, run by the Manpower Organization (OAED), wielding two guns and started shooting. He hit an 18-year-old student in the chest, sending him to the hospital with serious injuries, before leaving the building and firing at two passers-by whom he shot in the legs. According to witnesses, he then sat down on a street bench and shot himself in the head. At around 11.30 a.m., three hours after the attack, he died of his injuries in the hospital. «It is the first time that this has happened in Greece – we have never seen anything like this before,» Dimitris Souras, a Health Ministry psychiatrist dispatched to support victims, told reporters. A note found on Patmanidis when he was taken to the hospital accused his fellow students of picking on him and expressed the evident desperation that led him to carry out the shooting. «Until now, I have received nothing but rejection and contempt from those around me,» said the note, written in Greek. «I have no reason to continue living. But unluckily for you, I’m too selfish to leave and let you continue living.» «For me, you are all mentally retarded garbage… Whoever I see on the morning of April 10 will immediately become a target,» he wrote, adding that he had been «rejected» by someone he had fallen in love with and felt «nothing but rejection and contempt» for all those around him. Later in the day it emerged that Patmanidis had posted photographs on the Internet of himself menacingly holding various guns, eerily reminiscent of photographs by the perpetrators of shootings in the USA in recent years. Police confirmed that the man seen on the posting on the MySpace social networking site was the 19-year-old gunman. They also said that the posting, which features 17 photographs, had been uploaded onto the site about three hours before the attack. Officers said that Patmanidis had apparently planned to kill several people because of the number of weapons he was carrying: two guns, two knives and some 80 bullets. Police, who confiscated a computer from Patmanidis’s home yesterday, were trying to determine where he acquired the two pistols used in the attack. Fellow students described the gunman as a loner who was «generally very well-behaved» but reports emerged later yesterday that the 19-year-old had once tried to strangle a fellow student and had subsequently been placed under the surveillance of a college psychologist.