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Ex-German President's Son Stabbed to Death During Speech

Richard von Weizsaecker's son Fritz, 59, was killed at hospital where he was a head physician
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 20, 2019 9:25 AM CST
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In this Tuesday photo, a man is arrested by German police at a hospital in Berlin.   (Paul Zinken/dpa via AP)
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(Newser) – The son of former German president Richard von Weizsaecker, one of the country's most popular leaders, was stabbed to death while giving a lecture at a Berlin hospital where he worked as a head physician, police said Wednesday. A 57-year-old German man is in custody after he leaped from the audience at the Schlosspark-Klinik and attacked Fritz von Weizsaecker with a knife Tuesday evening, reports the AP. An off-duty police officer in the audience who tried to stop the attack was seriously wounded and underwent surgery. Von Weizsaecker died at the scene despite immediate attention from colleagues. "We cannot yet say anything about the attacker's motive," said a police spokesman. Police said later that the man, who wasn't a patient at the hospital, had been questioned overnight. Police were also investigating if von Weizsaecker or his family had received threats in the past.

The 59-year-old was the son of one of Germany’s most esteemed presidents. Richard von Weizsaecker became West Germany’s head of state in 1984, and when the country was unified, he became the first president of the new nation, serving until 1994. He died in 2015. Fritz von Weizsaecker was one of the ex-president’s four children. Von Weizsaecker studied and worked at several hospitals in Germany and abroad, including the Harvard Medical School in Boston and a hospital in Zurich. His fields of expertise were internal medicine and gastroenterology. His sister, Beatrice, posted a picture of Jesus on the Cross on Instagram after the stabbing and wrote, "Take care of my brother..." Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her condolences to his widow and the family, her spokesman said, calling it a "horrible blow to the von Weizsaecker family."

(Read more Germany stories.)

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