German investigators have revealed that a popular regional political leader found dead in his garden was killed by a bullet fired at close range.
They have launched a criminal inquiry into the death of Walter Lübcke, the 65-year-old head of the regional council in the city of Kassel.
Suicide has been ruled out but police say they have no motive.
“We are deeply shocked by the sudden death of our friend,” said Hesse state premier Volker Bouffier.
Lübcke’s body was found at 00:30 on Sunday morning (22:30 GMT Saturday) on the terrace of his home in the village of Istha, police revealed. He was declared dead two hours later and leaves a wife and two grown-up children.