West German Hostage Drama Ends; 3 Dead

Times Wire Services

West German police shot and wounded two fleeing bank robbers Thursday after ambushing their car on a crowded highway near Bonn, thus ending a 55-hour hostage drama that left three people dead.

An 18-year-old female hostage was killed in the final shoot-out. A second woman hostage and a female accomplice were wounded.

A 15-year-old hostage was killed on Wednesday, one day after the two gunmen robbed a bank in Gladbeck, 50 miles north of Cologne, and then hijacked a crowded city bus in Bremen before proceeding on a 435-mile odyssey in which they were pursued by hundreds of police cars, helicopters and journalists.


At least three other hostages were wounded in the two-day ordeal in which the pistol-waving bandits met with pursuing journalists several times, letting reporters inside the captive bus in Bremen and holding a roadside news conference in Cologne.

One policeman pursuing the bus was killed when his van crashed head-on into another vehicle.

The bandits, Hans-Juergen Roesner, 31, and Dieter Degowski, 32, traded the bus and all but two hostages for a BMW sedan after they crossed over into the Netherlands early Thursday morning.

The robbers crossed back into West Germany and were traveling along the Cologne-Frankfurt autobahn when police ambushed their car, using flash grenades. Police commandos in an armored limousine then rammed the getaway car.

“The criminals opened fire, and we shot back,” said Juergen Hosse, head of Cologne’s police department. He said it was unclear who shot the woman hostage.

Authorities said that all the suspects were in custody.