By George Jahn
In Austria, hunting deer and wild boar is a hallowed way of life, one that follows age-old codes of honor and requires a license bestowed only after passing rigorous exams. In that exalted world, Alois Huber was a brazen outlaw even before he went on a murderous rampage that left four people dead.
Not only did he poach game illegally in the middle of the night, he violated one of hunting's most sacred rules: Kill for meat, not just the trophy of the wild animal's head.
Huber shot countless deer in the forests outside Vienna, sawed off their antlered heads to mount at home — and left their decapitated bodies to rot in the underbrush.
Until this week.
Police had gotten wind of Huber's nocturnal poaching and went to confront him in the early hours of Tuesday. Enraged, Huber's illegal hunting turned to murder: He embarked on a shooting rampage that left three officers and a paramedic dead. Then he set his farmhouse bunker full of trophies on fire, and killed himself with a gunshot to the head. It was one of the worst multiple slayings in Austria's postwar history.
Villagers are baffled by the shocking violence — and say Huber led a double life. They describe the trucker as an upstanding neighbor, a welcome guest at birthday parties who gladly helped out when asked for a favor.
"He was a quiet, pleasant person who never did anyone any harm," said Adelheid Wieder, just hours after Huber's charred body was found. "Nobody imagined that he could be so without scruples and so aggressive." More....