Police commandos stormed an apartment in southern Germany on Wednesday after a hostage standoff and found five bodies, including that of the gunman, a spokesman said.

The team was sent in to the apartment after police smelled smoke from the top-floor apartment in Karlsruhe at around lunch time following a standoff that began at 9 a.m., police spokesman Juergen Scheufer said.

Inside they found the bodies of the suspect, as well as those of the court bailiff who had sought to evict the man, the locksmith who had accompanied him, the woman who was supposed to take over the apartment and another person, he said.

The man opened fire when the bailiff and others went to his apartment to eject him for failing to pay his rent, and then multiple shots were fired, killing one person. Police then blocked off the entire area in the Nordstadt section of the city and called in the police commando teams.

It was not clear whether they had ever managed to make any contact with the gunman before the hostages were killed.

More In: International | News