CARTER DOUGHERTY
The New York Times
March 12, 2009

WAIBLINGEN, Germany — A portrait of a troubled, depressed teenager with easy access to an unsecured pistol began to emerge on Thursday, a day after the youth went on a rampage, killing 15 people before taking his own life.

[efoods]By Thursday, the police had established that the youth, Tim Kretschmer, 17, last year broke off a round of psychological counseling for depression.

Searching his bedroom, the police found violent computer games — in which, experts say, players digitally clothe and arm themselves for combat — plus brutal videos and play weapons that fire small yellow pellets, said Siegfried Mahler of the Stuttgart prosecutors’ office. And they were seeking to verify the authenticity of a reported posting to a chat room in which someone warned of an attack on a school in Winnenden.

Rather than speak of a specific motive, investigators described Mr. Kretschmer as a classic case of a conflicted young man who wreaked havoc in real life after savoring imaginary violence in the digital world.

“If we had known this in advance, we would have called him a prototype of a rampager,” said Erwin Hetger, the chief of police in Baden-Württemberg, the southeastern German state where the crimes took place.

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