Wednesday, September 8, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Another Tourist Shot, Killed Near Miami Airport


MIAMI - A German tourist driving away from the Miami airport was killed early today by a gunman firing from a van that had repeatedly bumped his rental car from behind, police said.

Seven other foreign visitors, three of them German, have been slain in robberies or robbery attempts in Florida since last October.

When the attack began soon after midnight, the man's wife was reading a safety-tip pamphlet that car-rental agencies began providing this spring. One of the tips warns people not to stop driving if bumped from behind.

Killed was Uwe-Wilhelm Rakebrand, 33, of Adendorf, Germany, police spokesman Angelo Bitsis said.

His wife, 27, was uninjured. Her name was not released, and Bitsis declined to comment on reports that she is four months pregnant.

The couple picked up their red Toyota Corolla at Miami International Airport and were heading east on the Dolphin Expressway, en route to their hotel, when they were bumped from behind by two men in a van, the wife told police.

Police said the car had no markings indicating it was a rental car, a problem in past tourist slayings.

"The victim's wife, who was reading a safety-tip pamphlet provided by the rental-car agency, told him not to stop," police said in a statement.

The van bumped them again and again, then pulled alongside when Rakebrand didn't stop. One of the men in the van fired one shot through the driver's side window of the car, hitting Rakebrand in the back.

The van sped off as the out-of-control car jumped the median and entered the other lanes, where it was involved in a collision, police said.

In Bonn, the German government repeated its warning in a June 1 travel advisory that Germans avoid picking up rental cars at the Miami airport.

This killing came five months into a campaign against tourist-related crime in Miami.

An eight-agency violent-street-crime task force has made 210 arrests since April. Highway signs directing tourists have been added, and tourism groups and rental-car agencies are distributing safety brochures to visitors.

Gov. Lawton Chiles said of the latest shooting that he was "just so distressed I don't know what to say."

On April 2, German teacher Barbara Meller Jensen got lost after leaving the Miami airport with her two young children and her mother. Her rental car was struck from behind by another vehicle.

When she got out to inspect the damage, she was beaten, robbed and run over.

Two men were charged with first-degree murder and robbery.

Another German tourist and rental-car customer, Jorg Schell, was fatally shot March 11 just after he and his wife checked in at a motel in Homestead, southwest of Miami.

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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