MWith several hundred officers, with helicopters, thermal cameras, special forces and a dog squadron, the Baden-Württemberg police continued to search for the 31-year-old Yves Etienne Rausch on Monday afternoon. “We are combing through the forest area, because we started the search early, we assume that he is still in the extensive forest areas,” said a spokeswoman for the police headquarters in Offenburg. The homeless man and gun man had threatened four police officers during a check on Sunday morning, and he is said to have managed to steal all four of the police officers’ weapons and then escape.
The check had been made following a tip from a citizen who had reported about a suspicious man in camouflage clothing near a forest hut. Initially, Rausch was cooperative when checking for police information. Then he is said to have pointed a pistol at the police, so that the officers had no choice but to hand over their service weapons. Rausch is said to have been armed with a bow and arrow.
The municipality in the Renchtal (Ortenaukreis) with almost 5000 inhabitants, west of Freudenstadt and east of Offenburg, is surrounded by parcels of the Black Forest. Oppenau alone has 2,000 hectares of communal forest. The forest has grown there densely and is difficult to access. Above all, it offers many hiding places, which made it difficult to find the suspect who had good local knowledge on Monday.
Schools and kindergartens closed
The public prosecutor’s office in Offenburg has meanwhile initiated an investigation into serious robbery and extortion in which the unauthorized use of a firearm against intoxication was carried out; the police are asking citizens to help with a public investigation. The schools, the swimming pool and the kindergartens in Oppenau had to be closed on Monday, the German air traffic control even imposed a flight ban. An innkeeper, who claims to have housed the suspect for a while, told the SWR that Rausch had also set up an arms store in his restaurant. The fugitive had left ammunition, pistols, a crossbow and bomb-making material in the attic of his house. Because the suspect had not paid his rent, he had the room cleared.
Rausch is said to have grown up in Oppenau, many villagers know him because he is said to have been out in the town more often with a long black coat and occasionally also with a rat on his shoulder. The “Badische Zeitung” reports on contacts to the so-called Reich Citizens’ Scene; the spokeswoman for the Offenburg police headquarters was unable to confirm this: “Nothing is known to us at the moment.” However, the man was noticed earlier under criminal law: Ten years ago, he was said to have been sentenced to a youth sentence for dangerous bodily harm. Uwe Gaiser, Mayor of Oppenau, said Rausch recently signed up with the registry office because he wanted to move abroad.