According to current information, eight people were fatally injured when the shots were fired in a Jehovah's Witnesses building in Hamburg. Among the dead was "apparently the alleged perpetrator," as the Hamburg police announced on their website in the morning.
Investigators from the Hamburg police continue to secure traces at the crime scene in the morning. "At the moment the handovers are going on here. It's all in flux," said a police spokesman in Hamburg in the morning.
Several people were killed or injured by gunfire during last night's event. According to media reports, six or seven people died and at least eight others were injured. The police initially gave no precise information.
The "Spiegel" reported that the suspect is said to be a former member of Jehovah's Witnesses. The magazine also reported that the murder weapon was a pistol. However, the police could not provide any information in the morning – neither about the alleged perpetrator nor about the exact course of events. A press conference was planned for midday in Hamburg.
Resident: "There were about four shot periods"
A neighbor reported several shots fired at the event. "There were about four shot periods. In these periods, several shots were always fired, approximately 20 seconds to one minute apart," reported student Lara Bauch. Later, people were carried onto the street by police officers on their hands and feet.
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.
A hearse drove up to the scene around 8:00 a.m. Traffic on the busy Deelböge road was reopened around 6 a.m.
Hamburg's Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) was dismayed by the shots during an event of Jehovah's Witnesses. "The reports from Alsterdorf / Groß Borstel are shocking," wrote Tschentscher on Twitter. "My deepest sympathy goes to the relatives of the victims. The emergency services are working flat out to track down the perpetrators and clarify the background." Tschentscher called on citizens to heed the police's instructions.
Hamburg's second mayor Katharina Fegebank was also shocked. "I am shocked by the shooting in Groß Borstel, in which several people died
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) described the fatal 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.
"Several people have fallen victim to a brutal crime in Hamburg. Much is still unclear. We are shaken. We pray together," wrote the Archdiocese of Hamburg on Twitter. It went on to say: "We are with those who are hurt and with those who have lost their lives."
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) was also "shaken". "In this difficult hour, my thoughts are with the victims and their relatives, with the community members and also with the emergency services," said Faeser of the German Press Agency.
EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson spoke on Twitter of a "shocking act". Her thoughts are with the victims and their families. At the same time, the Swede thanked the Hamburg police, who reacted "immediately with incredible courage".
Jehovah's Witnesses - Background
The Jehovah's Witnesses are a Christian community with their own interpretation of the Bible. The followers believe in Jehovah as "almighty God and Creator" and are said to submit to strict rules. They are convinced that a new world is at hand and that they will be saved as a chosen church. Jehovah's Witnesses have around eight million members worldwide. The "world headquarters" is in New York. The German community, with fewer than 200,000 members, is one of the largest in Europe.
Background to the crime scene
The crime scene is a three-story commercial building located on a wide street and next to a painting company and a construction site with three large cranes. Around 15,000 people live in Hamburg-Alsterdorf, the district in the Hamburg-Nord district is around three square kilometers in size. In addition to Alsterdorf, there are twelve other districts in the district. Numerous companies are based in Hamburg-Alsterdorf. The Alster River runs through the district.
Information portal and contact point
The police point out a telephone for relatives and those affected. The telephone contact point can be reached at the numbers 49 40 4286-24393, -24386 and -24323.
These numbers should not be used for hints. The police have set up an information portal for this purpose, which can be reached on the website https://hh.zettelportal.de/. Photos and videos of the crime or relevant events in this context can be uploaded there.