Epigraph: Every human life is precious and sacred and killing one is like triggering a genocide. (Al Quran 5:32/33)
German police have begun a murder investigation after a long-time member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party was shot dead outside his home.
Walter Lubcke, 65, was discovered in his garden in the early hours of Sunday morning with a gunshot wound to the head that was “fired at close range”, prosecutors have said.
A motive has not yet been established. Suicide has been ruled out.
Mr Lubcke was a member of the centre-right Christian Democratic Party and was a regional leader for the city of Kassel. He served in his role for 10 years, and was described by the regional council as a “popular and extraordinarily approachable” man.
In late March, the 65-year-old was nearing the end of his leadership term, but this was eventually extended after a request that was accepted by state premier Volker Bouffier.
The regional council paid tribute to the “major changes” Mr Lubcke brought to Kassel through his “down-to-earth, open and binding approach”, and said it was “bewildered and shocked” by news of his killing.
He leaves behind his wife and two adult children.
In 2015, Mr Lubcke publicly supported allowing refugees to settle in Germany, and told anyone who opposed this that they were “free to leave”.
These comments, which were made at a town hall meeting in Lohfelden, led to him being given temporary police protection after he received threatening messages.
But prosecutors on Monday said “no connection to the current crime, according to our knowledge” has been found.
Sabine Thurau, the head of Hesse state criminal police, added: “This first phase after the crime is very decisive for the success of the investigation.
“We don’t want any speculation to endanger the investigation.”
A special commission consisting of 20 police officers has been launched to work on the investigation.