The death toll from Thursday night’s attack on a place of worship of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Hamburg, northern Germany , has risen to eight . The perpetrator is among the dead, while some of the injured are in a serious condition.
The attacker “opened fire on participants in a ceremony” organized by the Jehovah’s Witnesses community, police said. The perpetrator is believed to have been a former member of their community , the German magazine Der Spiegel reported today.
He was aged between 30 and 40 and was not known to the authorities as an extremist, the German paper noted, citing unnamed sources. Der Spiegel also clarifies that the attacker was armed with a pistol.
Police have revealed an anonymous letter had been sent to officers in January saying the gunman who killed seven people in Hamburg should not be allowed to have weapons and that he might be suffering from a mental illnesshttps://t.co/T5yiCHAoKK
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Soltz condemns the attack on a Jehovah’s Witness church: “Our thoughts are with the victims” Olaf Solz expresses his sadness at the murderous attack committed in a Jehovah’s Witnesses church on Thursday night (9/3) . The German chancellor said “our thoughts are with the victims”.
At the same time, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke of “a brutal, violent act”.
“The religious community is deeply saddened by the terrible murder committed against its members in a Kingdom Hall in Hamburg after a religious ceremony,” according to a statement posted on its website.
“People lost their lives and others were seriously injured,” the text adds, as reported by the Athens News Agency, while the exact number of victims is not yet known.
German Interior Minister Nancy Fesser said she was “shocked by the terrible act of violence committed against a community of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Hamburg”.
Germany is shocked after the massacre at a Jehovah’s Witnesses church in Hamburg, with the tragic death toll of 8, while a new video captures the moment of the horrific attack.
The tragic event took place last night. According to international reports, the first call to the city’s police authorities was made around 21:15, as residents heard gunshots.
Strong police forces arrived at the scene of the crime to determine the murder with a count of 8 dead – among them must be the perpetrator – and some injured.
A new video that saw the light of day a little while ago shows the moment of the shocking attack. As can be seen in the video below, the killer allegedly shoots from outside, through a window, and then breaks into the building.
Is the perpetrator a former Jehovah’s witness?
At that moment, a Bible study meeting was taking place in the church and there are also reports that the attacker may have been a former member of the religious community.
Local media reported that eight people were also seriously injured in the shooting. Police said the gunman was believed to be among the dead.
German newspaper Spiegel claims the suspect was a former member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, aged 30 or 40, was wielding a pistol and was not known to police as an extremist. No other details about the suspected killer have been released, and police have urged the public not to speculate about a motive for the shootings.
An “extreme danger” alert has sounded.
The police spokesman said officers were alerted to the shooting and rushed to the scene. Images and video showed armed police entering the three-story building, hurried and ready to open fire.
After officers arrived, they heard a gunshot from upstairs and found a person upstairs who may have been the shooter. The police did not have to use their firearms. None of the shots heard came from police, they said.
An “extreme danger” alert was sounded in the area via a disaster warning app, but Germany’s Federal Civil Protection Agency lifted it shortly after 3am.
“Police measures in the surrounding area are gradually being discontinued. Investigations into the background of the crime continue,” Hamburg police tweeted in the early hours of Friday.
After the incident, local media footage showed a heavy police presence outside the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a modern three-story building. Dozens of armed police in military gear could be seen outside.
The first officers to arrive at the scene found several lifeless bodies and seriously injured people, police said, according to the Daily Mail report.
The Hamburger Abendblatt reported that 17 unhurt people who were at the event were rescued by the fire department.
Officers heard a gunshot “in the upper part of the building” before finding a body where it was heard, police said. A spokesman added that the person whose body was found at the top of the building was “probably” the attacker.
“We found a lifeless person in a community center in [Gross Borstel], who we assume may be the perpetrator,” Hamburg police tweeted early Friday morning.
The Jehovah’s Witness community in Germany also expressed deep sadness at the “horrific” shooting deaths in Hamburg, which it said targeted its members.
There are about 175,000 people in Germany, including 3,800 in Hamburg, who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, an American Christian movement created in the late 19th century, which preaches non-violence and is known for promoting its preaching from door to door.