The shots in a building belonging to Jehovah's Witnesses in Hamburg killed eight and injured eight. This was announced by Hamburg's Interior Senator Andy Grote (SPD) on Friday in Hamburg at a press conference. The police also count the perpetrator and an unborn child among the dead.
"Among the dead is an unborn child aged seven months who was hit in the womb," said Grote. He described the incident as a killing spree. "A rampage of this magnitude - we've never seen it before. It's the worst crime, the worst crime in our city's recent history." According to information from security circles, the police also classified the act as a rampage.
Four men, two women and a fetus
The fatalities are four men, two women and a female fetus aged 28 weeks. The men and women are between 33 and 60 years old, said the head of state security for the police, Thomas Radszuzweit. "All of the fatalities are German nationals and died as a result of gunshots."
In addition, six women and two men between the ages of 23 and 46 were injured, at least four of them life-threateningly, "some with multiple gunshot wounds," said Radszuzweit. Radszuzweit announced that six of the injured were German nationals, and one woman each had Ugandan and Ukrainian nationality.
Police were at the scene within minutes
The Hamburg police were at the scene of the crime within minutes. The crime happened around 9 p.m. on Thursday, Grote said. The first emergency calls were received at 21.04. "At 9:08 p.m., the first forces were on site." Only a minute later, at 9:09 p.m., the emergency patrol was at the scene of the crime.
This unit for operational situations that indicate an increased risk for the officers deployed gained access to the building at 9:11 p.m. and interrupted the crime. "We can assume that they saved the lives of many people," said Grote.
The fatal shots had led to a large-scale operation. Investigators were at the crime scene looking for clues until mid-morning. The first bodies have now been removed.
Gunman was a former member of the community
The suspected gunman in Hamburg is a 35-year-old German. Philipp F. was a former member of the Hamburg community of Jehovah's Witnesses and left it voluntarily a year and a half ago, but obviously not on good terms. This was announced by the police, prosecutors and interior authorities on Friday.
According to dpa information, the alleged shooter came from Bavaria. The man grew up in the Swabian administrative district and has been registered in Hamburg since 2015. According to the information, he applied for a gun license there last year. Several media had reported on the origin of the perpetrator.
The suspected shooter was therefore not known to be an extremist. According to reports, the fact that his name appeared in the databases of the security authorities has no criminal background, but to do with the fact that he is said to have applied for a gun permit. This always requires a reliability check, in which references to criminal offenses and extremism are checked.
Steinmeier reacted "with great horror"
Numerous national and international politicians reacted with shock and concern to the deadly incident. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of "terrible news from Hamburg" in a post on Twitter. He conveyed France's condolences to the families of the victims and to all our German friends. "Our thoughts are with them."
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier reacted "with great horror". "My thoughts are with the dead and their families. You have my deepest sympathy on this day of pain," said the head of state through his spokeswoman on Twitter. Steinmeier thanked the emergency services on site and pointed to the sympathy of the population: "I'm sure many people in Germany feel sincere sympathy in these hours. I wish the injured a speedy recovery."
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) described the deadly shots as a brutal act of violence. "Bad news out
The Jehovah's Witnesses were "deeply concerned". "Our deepest sympathy goes to the families of the victims and the traumatized eyewitnesses. The chaplains of the local community are doing their best to support them in this difficult hour," said a statement on the community's website.
In the early morning, the police secured further tracks in front of, behind and in the three-storey building. During the night, the investigators put up numerous small number boards on the outside of the building to mark traces of the act of violence. A 3D scanner was also used in the morning to document the course of the crime. The entrance to the Jehovah's Witnesses building was covered with a privacy screen in the morning.