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Attack on German high school prevented, police say

  • Story Highlights
  • Police say two students, age 17 and 18, planned Tuesday attack on their school
  • One was confronted about his Web site glorifying 1999 Columbine attack, police say
  • He then committed suicide, police say; German media say he stepped in front of train
  • The other student is in custody; police seized crossbow, air guns
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BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- German police announced Sunday they stopped two teenagers from carrying out a rampage at their Cologne high school and that one of the students committed suicide after being confronted.

The attack was planned for Tuesday, police said, and may have been intended to coincide with the anniversary of a school shooting last year in Germany.

One of the suspects, age 17, committed suicide Friday after police and a high school teacher confronted him about his Web page, which featured material glorifying the Columbine shootings, Jurgen Laggies, a spokesman for Cologne police told CNN.

The Web page contained photographs of the 1999 U.S. school shooting and links to Web pages celebrating the massacre, Laggies said.

German news outlets reported he died after intentionally stepping in front of a tram in Cologne, Germany.

The other suspect, age 18, was in police custody, Laggies said.

Following the Friday confrontation with the 17-year-old, whom police described as "quiet," police said they believed he understood their concerns about his glorification of the killings at Columbine High School in Colorado and was planning to remove the material from his Web site.

In 1999, two students killed 13 people at Columbine High School, in Littleton, Colorado, before both committing suicide.

After Cologne police were alerted to the plot to attack the Georg-Buechner Gymnasium in the western district of Junkirdors, they confiscated two crossbows, two air guns and a list of intended victims, Laggies said.

Police also uncovered instructions in the students' papers on how to build a pipe bomb, though there was no evidence of an actual bomb, he said.

It was not immediately clear where the police confiscated the items, or whether police found them before or after the 17-year-old died.

Laggies pointed out that Tuesday, the day the suspects had planned to carry out the attack, was the anniversary of a 2006 school shooting in Emsdetten, outside Muenster in western Germany.

In the 2006 attack, an 18-year-old former student shot and wounded six people before killing himself. He had posted a letter on his personal Web page saying he planned to kill himself in a spectacular way. The Web page included photos of himself with weapons and messages expressing hatred of people.

This month, a student in Finland killed eight people in a high school before fatally turning the gun on himself. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Claudia Otto contributed to this report.

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