- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

ATHENS, GREECE (AP) - Police have said the teenage gunman who wounded three people at a college in Greece and killed himself had warned of the attack hours earlier on an Internet posting.

Police confirm the man seen on the posting on the popular social networking site was the 19-year-old gunman. A note included on the posting says he felt “nothing but rejection and contempt” for those around him. The posting included photographs of him posing with weapons.

He shot himself in the head and died after opening fire at the vocational training college in western Athens on Friday and died in hospital several hours later.

Police and Health Ministry officials say a student was shot in the chest and seriously wounded, and two men suffered lighter injuries.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ A teenage student armed with two handguns, dozens of bullets and a knife opened fire in a vocational training college in Athens Friday, wounding three people before shooting himself in the head, Greek authorities said.

The 19-year-old gunman died of his injuries after being taken to a hospital. He left a note accusing his fellow students of picking on him.

“He succumbed during the operation to save him,” senior Health Ministry official Panayiotis Efstathiou said.

Police said an 18-year-old electronics student at the western Athens state college was seriously injured and two men outside the college building were shot and lightly injured. All three were hospitalized.

Although there have been cases of stabbings at Greek schools, the shooting is unprecedented.

“Such incidents are foreign to the Greek educational system,” said Deputy Education Minister Andreas Lykourentzos.

Police identified the gunman as an immigrant from the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia.

“He left a note saying he couldn’t take it any more,” police spokesman Panayiotis Stathis told The Associated Press. “It seems his motive was revenge.”

Police said the youth had apparently planned to take more lives. An official, speaking on condition of anonynity, quoted the one-and-a-half-page note as saying: “I will kill whoever I find in my way … and then take my own life. I was systematically slighted.”

Stathis said the gunman shot his fellow student four times. “He may have believed (the victim) was most strongly involved in the activities against him.”

The shooter was armed with two handguns, and 66 nine-milimeter bullets and a knife were found in his bag.

Police say the gunman arrived around 8:45 a.m., a quarter of an hour after lessons had started at the OAED state unemployment agency’s training college in the Athens Rendi district.

He shot the student victim on a college staircase leading to the second floor before running out. He then shot two workers at a nearby shop who tried to stop him, one in the leg and the other in the arm. Then he went to a park close to the school and shot himself in the head.

Fellow students described the gunman as a lonely youth who had little to do with his peers and favored black clothing and long overcoats.

Efstathiou, the Health Ministry official, said the student who was shot by the gunman was in serious condition with gunshot wounds in the chest, arms and legs, while the other two men had lighter injuries. They were identified as a 23-year-old Greek and a 47-year-old Albanian.

The shooting comes amid a recent surge of bloody bank robberies, homicides, muggings and violent burglaries in Greece. The country has no history of violent crime, and the incidents have embarrassed Greece’s conservative government, which has been shaken by a series of financial scandals and holds a slim one-seat majority in parliament.

Greece’s Left Coalition party said Friday’s shooting served as a “warning bell” for the government.

“There is so much despair, fear, anger and aggression among young people looking for jobs that we can have such incidents,” the party’s parliamentary spokesman Alekos Alavanos said.

Last week, unknown gunmen shot and injured two policemen who stopped them for a routine check in Athens, while recently a gunman fired shots in an Athens hospital during a bank robbery.

In addition to the increase in crime, police have had to deal with a surge in political violence by anarchist and far-left groups, who frequently carry out arson attacks on symbols of state authority, banks and foreign diplomats’ cars.

These attacks increased drastically after last December’s fatal police shooting of an Athens teenager, which sparked the country’s worst riots in decades.

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