Seven killed by a shooting in German Hamburg, Jehovah's Witness hall

By Rek Hanibal Published on March 10, 2023
Seven killed by a shooting in German Hamburg,  Jehovah's Witness hall

They say the gunman acted alone in Thursday's attack and later took his own life. His motives are unknown.

The suspect,  Philipp F, is said to have had "ill feelings" towards the religious community, of which he had previously been a member.

Video has emerged, appearing to show him firing through all windows.

At a briefing on Friday, the police said four men and two women were shot dead. All the dead were German nationals.

Eight people were injured, four seriously. A Ugandan and a Ukrainian were among those hurt.

A seven-month-pregnant woman was shot - killing her unborn baby. The mother survived.

The first emergency call came at 21:04 local time (20:04 GMT) on Thursday to report that shots had been fired in the building on Deelböge street, Gross Borstel district, the police said.

Officers were on site four minutes special forces almost immediately joined them. The officers had to break windows to enter the building where about 50 people had gathered.

The suspect - described as a 35-year-old "sports shooter" who had a gun licence - had fled to the first floor. His "lifeless body" was found shortly afterwards. 

He had managed to shoot ammunition magazines, and 20 more were found in his backpack.

German Senator Andy Grote said "fast and decisive actions" by police officers had saved many lives. He also described the attack as the "worst crime" in Hamburg's recent history.

Police confirmed they had previously received an anonymous tip-off that raised concerns about the perpetrator's mental health. Officers had visited him after the tip-off - but did not have enough grounds to take away his gun at the time.

Gregor Miesbach, who filmed the gunman shooting through a first-floor window, told the Bild newspaper: "I didn't realise what was happening. I was filming with my phone and only learned through zoom that someone was shooting at Jehovah's Witnesses.

"I heard loud gunshots... I saw a man with a firearm shooting through a window and filmed it," he said.

Lara Bauch, a 23-year-old student who lives nearby, told the DPA news agency that "there were about four bursts of gunfire - several shots were fired in each burst - with gaps lasting roughly 20 seconds to a minute".

She said that from her window, she could see a person frantically running from the ground floor to the first floor. "The man was wearing dark clothing and moving fast," she added.

An alert was sent on the federal warning app, NINAwarn, on Thursday evening, telling locals that "one or more unknown perpetrators shot at people in a church".

Residents were told not to leave their homes amid the ongoing police operation.

Footage showed police escorting people out of the meeting hall, some to ambulances.

Rek Hanibal

Rek Hanibal

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