Johann Gautsch
Occupation Mechanic
Born ca. 1961

November 21, 1997(1997-11-21) (aged 36)
Mauterndorf, Austria

Cause of death Suicide
Attack information
Date November 20/21, 1997
Location(s) Mauterndorf, Austria
Killed 6
Weapon(s) 7.65 caliber Walther PPK with silencer
.357 Magnum Smith & Wesson revolver

Johann Gautsch was an Austrian unemployed mechanic who killed six people in Mauterndorf, Austria during the night of November 20, 1997. He committed suicide the next morning when he was discovered by police.[1]

The shooting sparked debates about tighter gun control in Austria, which eventually availed to nothing.


His father was a hunter, he had a sister. Parents were already pretty old when he was born, was a mother's boy, protected by mother. Started apprenticeship as a mechnic, was mediocre worker, was dismissed when amount of orders decreased.

Took pleasure in shooting birds from early age, police once confiscated an airgun from him, was a member of the Schützenverein in Mauterndorf, was known as an excellent shooter, successfull at competitions. Eventually found work as mechanic at a firm in Hallein, monetary situation well, had a girlfriend.

Harald Moser, the brother of one of his friends, moved into Gautsch's parental home in Mauterndorf, they began to renovate the building. When his employer went bankrupt Gautsch became unemployed, Gautsch went back to Mauterndorf, had to sell his parents home, which was dear to him, to Harald Moser. With great part of 1,9 Mio. Schilling he received he had to pay back a mortgage on the house, had to pay money to his sister who owned one half of the building, and with whom he had a contract that he would've to pay her if he'd sell the building within ten years after inheriting it. Had to leave his home by December 31, 1997. No phone, no TV, sold his car, was broke. Only thing left were his guns. Was unable to find a job. Unable to pay for his membership at Schützenverein he constructed a suppressor for his guns so he could continue shooting. Shot in forest.

Was mocked in the village for selling property too cheap to municipality, having to sell his parents home, being a good-for-nothing.

Fell in love with a woman, who stated she never had a relationship with him. When Gautsch saw her with another man at a village fair he yelled at the man: "I'm gonna blow your had off!" Gautsch became a loner more and more, isolated, aimless, stayed in his apartment at his parents home, listend to radio, lived in desolate condition, closed doors shut.

Stated he was angry ar consumer society, despised social parasites, didn't want to live off state support. In June he told his friend Bernhard Moser that he would not move out of his home. In summer slapped Harald Moser, because he had cut down fruit trees, which Gautsch still considered his property.

Beginning of October he suffered from Neurodermatitis, was four days in hospital, was not insured, couldn't pay bills. Several weeks prior to shooting received a letter from municipality that he had to pay several thousand schilling of tax debt by November 20. Two days prior to shooting told his friend BM "If I move out, I will give you a christ child, you will think for the rest of your lives." („Falls ich ausziehe, schenke ich euch ein Christkind, an das ihr ein Leben lang denken werdet.") when Moser asked him what he meant Gautsch avoided to answer. On November 16 he told his cousin's wife that she could pick up a bedside locker from him.

Beginning of November Gautsch lent money from friends, supposedly to buy food, instead drove to Salzburg where he had a friend who had organised something for him. In all probability he had bought the Walther PPK later used in the shooting. Gun was made prior to WW2 had a Swastika engraved, an elongated barrel with a winding to facilitated the assembly of a suppressor. Gautsch was said to have used explosives detonating them at a river,, said that he had received TNT and plastic explosives from his ominous friend. Ha experience with explosives from his time in army where he served as a pioneer. [2] Gautsch was the previous owner of Moser's house, had an apartment there, house would've been sold by the end of the year, Gautsch would've had to leave. Gautsch had a Waffenbesitzkarte for two handguns since 1981. Escaped insurance agent had notified district judge that Gautsch harrassed him. Gautsch knew his girlfriend, should've received his summoning before court on Nov. 21.[3][4]

In 1985 his mother died, whom he adored, cared for for many years, his girlfriend Andrea K., only love of his life relationship for five years, moved in with him, but since he wanted her for himself and couldn't stand when she met with her friends she stayed only for a short while. She moved out after he slapped her during an argument. Had a falling out qith his sister about the heritage of the parental home. She sold her hald to Harald Moser. Shortly afterwards Gautsch lost his workplace. Failed in a printing shop and construction company due to alcohol problems. Had to sell his part of home. Lived on ground floor, Moser on first floor. In early August he told a friend, Iris B., that he had planned something big, and that everybody would be astonished. In months prior to shooting threatened his girlfriends lover, Erich Schwaiger, several times. "i'll get rid of you, that much is certain!" („Dich räum' ich weg, soviel is fix!") [5]


During the night of November 20 the 36-year-old took S&W and Walther PPK with suppressor, first killed 39-year-old Harald Moser, his companion 40-year-old Gabrielle Artner, and their 3-year-old daughter Elisabeth with shots to their heads. Spared 1-year-old Magdalena, presumably being the christ child he had talked about earlier. Their bodies were discovered the next morning by an agent of a computer firm.

At 20:25 p.m. Gautsch went to home of Wernfried Gappmayer, 55, with whom he had a dispute, probably about a plot of land, arrived there 10 minutes later, rang him out, killed him with eight shots to head and chest. His body was discovered at 0:10 a.m. by his wife, that he was killed by a shot in the temple was only discovered the next day by Sprengelarzt at 8:30 a.m. Physician cam to conclusion he died of heavy bleeding after a fall since he was suffering from haemophilia. Wife later found spent cartridges, called police.

Ten minutes later killed 19-year-old Stefan Bader, and his 22-year-old girlfriend Irene Schitter in their apartment. Gautsch supposedly wanted to kill Schitter's parents, since her father was the employer of Gautsch's love and probably held him responsible for the end of their relationship. Gautsch then sat in front of TV, drank three beer, wrote three notes, accusing his girlfriend of having implanted a demon in him. Addressing Irene's mother he wrote Dear Mrs. Schitter, please forgive me. It wasn't me, but Elisabeth. She has transferred the demon. („Sehr geehrte Frau Schitter, bitte verzeihen Sie mir. Nicht ich war es, sondern die Elisabeth. Sie hat den Dämon übertragen.") referring to Schitter's housemaide Elisabeth A. whom Gautsch had loved for three years, thinking they were destined for each other. The bodies were discovered at about 11:30 a.m. the next morning. Gautsch fled in their car.

At 10:10 a.m. he shot five times at lover of his girlfirend, Erich Schwaiger, but missed because he was drunk. the insurance agent called police that he had been shot at by Gautsch. Gautsch drove to his cousin confessed to murders, then drove to his sister's home, she didn't open the door. At 10:45/11 a.m. Gautsch was found by two police officers at the airport, whereupon Gutsch first aimed his revolver at officers, but then turned gun on himself committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth.

Had fired 57 shots at his victims, wrote suicide note, stated that a certain Elisabeth had transfered a demon into him, that a devil had planted into him, wrote about a fire that had long been burning inside him. Besides weapons used in the shooting Gautsch had four other pistols, five rifles, ten kilogram of black powder and 1000 rounds of ammunition.[3][4][6][5]


  • Harald Moser, 39
  • Gabrielle Artner, 40, companion of Harald Moser
  • Elisabeth Moser, 3, daughter of Harald Moser and Gabrielle Artner
  • Wernfried Gappmayer, 55
  • Stefan Bader, 19
  • Irene Schitter, 22, girlfriend of Stefan Bader


  1. Amokläufer tötete sieben Menschen, Rhein Zeitung (November 21, 1997)
  2. Dealer in Uniform?, Profil (??/1997) (pp. 78 - ??)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Baby entkam dem Amoklauf, Salzburger Nachrichten (November 21, 1997)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Verfehlte Ziele, Profil (49/1997) (pp. 84 - 86)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Theatralischer Selbstmord, News (1997)
  6. Amoklauf von Mauterndorf jährt sich zum zehnten Mal, (November 14, 2007)

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