An East German border guard said he shot another guard in the foot and locked him in an observation tower and then escaped to the West this week, police said.

A police spokesman said the 23-year-old soldier told interrogators he had intended only to fire a warning shot at the other guard, who was on duty with him in an observation tower on the East German side of the Elbe River.But the refugee said the guard came toward him and attempted to prevent his escape and the man was shot in the foot, the spokesman reported. The guard said he then locked the wounded soldier in the tower and fled.

The spokesman said the guard jumped into the Elbe and began swimming to the opposite shore, and was picked up by a West German customs patrol boat in the middle of the river at the border between East Germany and the West German state of Lower Saxony.

The refugee said he fled because of dissatisfaction with political and economic conditions.