At least 9 killed in Germany shootings, suspect found dead at home

15:25 | 20/02/2020
A gunman suspected of shooting nine people dead at two shisha bars in a southwestern German city has been found dead at his home, police said on Thursday (Feb 20).
at least 9 killed in germany shootings suspect found dead at home
Emergency services work at the scene of a shooting in Hanau, western Germany, on Feb 20, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Yann Schreiber)

Two bodies were discovered at the gunman's home in Hanau, a city east of the financial hub of Frankfurt where the shootings took place. One of the bodies was likely the gunman himself, said police.

"There are no indications that other suspects were involved," police said in a statement. "One of the two dead people found is highly likely the perpetrator."

In a press release on Thursday, police also confirmed that the two shooting incidents at the Heumarkt and Kurt Schumacher Platz areas killed at least nine people and left several injured.

Police said their information suggested the gunman had committed suicide at his home after fleeing in a dark car, but the motive for the attacks is unclear.

Mass-selling Bild newspaper said the man was a German citizen and that ammunition and gun magazines were found in his car. He had a firearms hunting licence, it added.

The attacks targeted bars in Hanau, about 20km from Frankfurt, where armed police quickly fanned out and police helicopters roamed the sky looking for those responsible for the bloodshed.

The first attack occurred at the Midnight bar in the centre of the city around 10pm on Wednesday (Thursday, 5am, Singapore time), police and reports said. Three people were killed in front of the building, local media said, with witnesses reporting hearing a dozen shots.

The attacker, or attackers, fled the scene by car, according to police. There was then a second shooting at Arena Bar.

A gunman reportedly rang the doorbell and shot people in the smoking area, killing five people including a woman, according Bild, adding that the victims were of Kurdish origin.

"The victims are people we have known for years," said the bar manager's son, quoted by DPA news agency. Two employees were among the victims, according to the man, who was not at the bar during the shooting. "It is a shock for everyone."

An AFP journalist at the scene saw around 30 police cars leaving Hanau police station. Witnesses said police officers with machine guns were deployed in the city.

A silver Mercedes covered by what looked like a survival blanket could be seen behind a police cordon and surrounded by officers in front of Arena Bar, with shattered glass on the floor.

"HORROR SCENARIO"

The mayor of Hanau, Claus Kaminsky, told the Bild newspaper that it had been "a terrible night".

"You could not imagine a worse night. It will of course keep us busy for a long, long time and remain a sad memory."

MP for the region, Katja Leikert, said it was "a real horror scenario".

"On this dreadful night for Hanau, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the relatives of those killed. I hope the injured will recover quickly," she said.

Germany has been targeted in recent years by several extremist attacks, one of which killed 12 people in the heart of Berlin in December 2016.

Far-right attacks have become a particular concern for German authorities.

In October, a deadly anti-Semitic gun attack in the eastern city of Halle on the holy day of Yom Kippur underscored the rising threat of neo-Nazi violence. The rampage, in which two people were shot dead, was streamed live.

Last June conservative politician Walter Luebcke, an advocate of a liberal refugee policy, was shot at his home.

On Friday police arrested 12 members of a German extreme right group believed to have been plotting "shocking" large-scale attacks on mosques similar to the ones carried out in New Zealand last year.

German-Turkish Islamic organisation Ditib, which funds around 900 mosques in Germany, called for greater protections for Muslims in the country, saying they "no longer feel safe" in Germany.

AFP

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