Santo Domingo - The German citizen who died in a shootout with officers trying to execute a search warrant belonged to a "dangerous" religious cult, Dominican police said on Thursday.
Authorities provided no further information about the purported cult or about Peter Brunck, the owner of the mansion in the northern coastal town of Sosua where the gunbattle took place.
Police and prosecutors went to the Brunck residence at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to search for weapons, but were greeted by gunfire and "found themselves obliged to repel the aggression," according to the official account.
German national Peter Demetrick and three cops were wounded in the exchange.
Once inside the residence, police found an arms cache that included two U.S. military M-16 combat rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and seven more bulletproof vests.
Demetrick subsequently died while being treated at a hospital, while Brunck and a German woman were arrested.
The initial police report described Demetrick and several other foreign nationals arrested after the shootout as members of "a violent group that operates in Europe."
The head of the national police, Jose A. Polanco Gomez, rushed to the scene and urged a thorough investigation, crediting the "prudence" of the officers and prosecutors involved in the initial search operation for averting "dozens of deaths."
Brunck, according to the Web site Psiram, founded a religious sect called the Academy For Future Health.
The 61-year-old German national is also a self-styled faith-healer and believer in reincarnation who claims to have been people such as Leonardo da Vinci and Ulysses Grant in past lives, Psiram says.