Mass killings shake Germany – Crypto News Aktuell in German
HAMBURG: A disgruntled former Jehovah’s Witness shot dead six people at a community center in the German city of Hamburg before turning the gun on himself, authorities said on Friday.
Eight other people were injured in the attack on Thursday evening, four of them seriously, said Hamburg’s Interior Minister Andy Grote, calling it “the worst crime in our city’s recent history”.
Police identified the shooter as Philipp F, 35, a former member of the Christian group who left the community about 18 months ago “but apparently not on good terms”.
Investigators are still looking for a motive for the killings, but there is no evidence of a terrorist motive in the killings, a senior prosecutor said.
In January of this year, an anonymous tip was sent to the weapons control authority, alleging that Philipp F. may be suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness and that he has “particular anger at religious or at Jehovah’s Witnesses and his former employers”.
During searches after the shooting in the shooter’s apartment, 15 magazines with 15 bullets each and four other ammunition packages with around 200 rounds were uncovered.
The shooter entered the Kingdom Hall building as about three dozen people were attending a service and another 25 people had joined via livestream.
The first 911 calls reached emergency services just after 9 p.m. local time Thursday, and police entered the Jehovah’s Witnesses building minutes later.
The police action interrupted the shooting, prompting the attacker to flee to the first floor of the building, where he killed himself, Grote said.
“We can assume that (the quick police intervention) saved many lives,” he added.
Police originally said the shooting killed eight people, but that included the gunman and a seven-month-old fetus who was killed in the attack. The woman pregnant with the baby survived.
“The whole thing filmed”
The Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany said it was “deeply saddened by the appalling attack on its members”.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the “brutal act of violence” and said his thoughts were with the victims and their families.
Home Secretary Nancy Faeser said investigators were “working flat out to determine the background” to the attack.
Neighbors recalled hearing multiple gunshots late Thursday.
“Our son filmed the whole thing, he could see quite well from the house,” Bernd Miebach, a 66-year-old business owner, told AFP.
“On the video you can see that someone smashed a window, you hear gunshots and see that someone broke in.”
Police have asked witnesses to come forward and upload any pictures or videos they have to a special website.
Another local resident said police arrived at the scene within “four or five minutes.”
“We heard shots and knew something big was happening,” said the woman, who only gave her first name, Anetta.
She said she knew the building was being used by members of the Jehovah’s Witness community and described it as “very peaceful, quiet.”
The three-story building was still cordoned off on Friday, with several officers standing outside.
Hearses arrived around noon and at least four bodies were carried out of the building, an AFP reporter said.
Germany has about 175,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses, 3,800 of them in Hamburg. Founded in the late 19th century, the Christian movement in the United States that preaches nonviolence is known for its door-to-door evangelism.
Hit by attacks
Germany has been rocked by several attacks in recent years, both by jihadists and right-wing extremists.
One of the deadliest acts by Islamist extremists was a truck rampage at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016, which killed 12 people.
The Tunisian attacker, a failed asylum seeker, was a supporter of the jihadist group Islamic State.
Germany has also been hit by a spate of far-right attacks, sparking accusations that the government is not doing enough to stamp out neo-Nazi violence.
In February 2020, a right-wing extremist shot dead ten people and injured five others in the central German city of Hanau.
In 2019, two people were killed when a neo-Nazi tried to storm a synagogue in Halle on the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch