Four days after the shooting on the premises of Jehovah's Witnesses in Hamburg, the investigation continues. As of Sunday, the police had no further information on the condition of the injured. A long-term discussion was fueled again after the crime in the Hanseatic city.
During the shooting on Thursday evening in the north of Hamburg, 35-year-old Philipp F. shot seven people and himself. The police also counted an unborn child among the dead. Eight people were injured, four of them were in mortal danger. The perpetrator had fired more than 100 times with a semi-automatic pistol. Hamburg's police chief Ralf Martin Meyer said at a press conference that he had been in legal possession of this weapon since December 12. According to information from security circles, the shooter was not known to be an extremist.
The perpetrator was a marksman
Philipp F. was a former member of the Hamburg community of Jehovah's Witnesses, which he left voluntarily a year and a half ago, but apparently not on good terms, as the police, prosecutors and interior authorities said on Friday.
The 35-year-old was a sports shooter, had a gun license and had only recently been visited by the weapons authority. In January, the authorities received an anonymous tip about a possible mental illness from Philipp F. He was therefore visited unannounced in early February by two officers from the Weapons Authority.
At that time there were no relevant complaints, the legal options had been exhausted, said Meyer. The overall circumstances would not have given the officials any clues "that could have indicated a mental illness". At this point, Philipp F. disappeared from the authorities' radar again, until last Thursday's act of violence, which Hamburg's Interior Senator Andy Grote (SPD) later described as "the worst crime in our city's recent history".
Debate about stricter gun laws
After the shooting, the left demanded clarification from the Senate. The Senate must fully enlighten the interior committee on open questions relating to the killing spree, said yesterday Deniz Celik, spokesman for domestic affairs for the left-wing faction in the Hamburg Parliament. "According to the latest findings, the question of whether the killing spree could have been prevented must be asked again. The crude theses presented on the website and in the book paint a picture of a confused, religious extremist," said Celik.
The shooting has meanwhile brought the ongoing political discussion about stricter gun laws back into focus. After the crime, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) announced that she wanted to review the draft amendment to the Weapons Act.
Even if the topic of gun law has not yet been on the agenda of the Bundestag's internal affairs committee, it should continue to cause discussions. Most recently, Faeser had turned the hunters' and riflemen's associations against her with her plans for more controls and regulations. These in turn received support from the FDP.
The deputy FDP party leader Wolfgang Kubicki told the Welt television channel: "The natural reaction of initially wanting to ban everything is out of the question. That's an understandable human reaction, but when in doubt it doesn't help."