Bonn The 23-year-old policeman, who died on December 10 as a result of a shot to the neck, was buried in Bonn on Friday. At the same time a nationwide minute of silence took place, which was organized by privately on Facebook.
It was a moving and sad picture: Around 500 people, half of them police officers in uniform from all over North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), marched through Endenich in a long procession on Friday afternoon. At the head of the procession, officers carried the coffin of Police Officer Julian Rolf, who died of his injuries on December 10. According to the spokesperson, the police published his name with the consent of the family. A 22-year-old colleague had shot him in the neck at the end of November on his way to an operation exercise at the police headquarters in Ramersdorf.
During the funeral service in the St. Maria Magdalena church, relatives, friends and colleagues said goodbye before the young policeman was buried in the Endenich cemetery. NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul, State Secretary Jürgen Mathies, NRW Police Inspector Bernd Heinen, and Police President Ursula Brohl-Sowa also attended the funeral service. Police chaplain Norbert Schmitz tried to comfort the mourners: "In the end everything is good. And if it's not good, it's not the end." Three colleagues from the task force quoted the band Kasalla: "We will see each other again, I believe in it.“ And the sports comrades from the volleyball club and Julian Rolf's girlfriend described in moving obituaries a cheerful and kindhearted person.
Julian's companions had carefully chosen the musical accompanimen with songs like "Hoffnung" by Kontra K and "One More Light" by Linkin Park. The funeral service ended with the Irish blessing song "May the road rise to meet you". When the funeral procession moved to the cemetery, many people stopped at the roadside and showed respect to the deceased. At the police headquarters in Bonn, the flags flew at half-mast, the patrol cars carried mourning black ribbon on the antennas.
Outside the Bonn police station, two private individuals organized a minute's silence. The initiators of the Facebook page "Police Memorial Page", security man Michael Niepott and Magdeburg police officer Stefan Perlbach, called for a nationwide pause for one minute at the beginning of the funeral service at 12 noon. Police officers in patrol cars should get out and salute if possible. An action that also met with criticism by police officers. Bonn police did not want to comment on the action.
"It is simply the last greeting on the last business trip", initiator Niepott explained the background. It was not usual for the police to salute, but the model for the action came from the USA. There it is "common practice" to salute deceased police officers with salutes and gunshots, Niepott told the GA. In 2002 he had lost a friend himself who was a policeman and was shot dead during a mission. This incident led him to create his memorial page.
According to the Cologne media, the 22-year-old shooter has meanwhile broken his silence and informed the investigators in writing through his lawyer: The shot that hit his colleague in the throat was accidentally released while checking the pistol when a noise frightened him. Neither the Bonn public prosecutor's office nor his lawyer Christoph Arnold wanted to comment on this. According to the lawyer, the 22-year-old suffers a lot.
(Original text: Katharina Weber / Translation: Mareike Graepel)