Germany: Shooting at Jehovah's Witness center leaves 8 dead
Police cordon off the church targeted by a shooting in Hamburg on March 9, 2023.
The shooting Thursday evening in a center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Hamburg in northern Germany left eight people dead, including “obviously” the likely perpetrator of the shots, police said Friday in a first official report.
The latter shot at participants in a demonstration organized by the community, the police said, adding that other people were injured, some of them seriously.
According to the magazine Der Spiegel, the alleged shooter is a former member of Jehovah's Witnesses, in his thirties, and he was armed with a pistol.
He is forced his way into the building where the prayer session was being held, which was attended by about 50 people, according to the Spiegel.
Jehovah's Witnesses broke into said in a statement shocked by the horrific attack on some of their members, which occurred after a church service.
Law enforcement said they favored the single-shooter trail. They were called around 9:15 p.m. for shots fired in the three-storey building used by the community, located in the Gross Borstel district, said a police spokesman.
The intervention forces entered the building very quickly and found dead and seriously injured people there, according to this spokesperson.
The daily Bild reported a bloodbath inside the premises. Inside, officers also heard a gunshot from the top of the building and found another person, the spokesperson continued. It was clearly the shooter.
There were about four distinct shooting phases, testified a neighbor, Lara Bauch, in the daily Bild. During each of them several shots were heard, spaced 20 seconds to a minute apart, she said.
I' continued to look out the window and saw a person at Jehovah's Witnesses running at full speed from the ground floor to the first floor, this witness said.
Authorities local authorities issued an alert on Thursday evening to dissuade residents from leaving their homes. It was lifted in the night.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sent his thoughts to the victims of the shooting and their loved ones on Friday, deploring in a tweet a brutal act of violence.
The Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser also reacted on Twitter saying she was shocked by the terrible act of violence perpetrated in a community of Jehovah's Witnesses in Hamburg.
Founded in the 19th century in the United States, the Witnesses of Jehovah consider themselves the heirs of early Christianity and constantly refer only to the Bible.
The status of the organization varies from country to country. x27; other: they are legally considered the same as the major religions in Austria and Germany, which has just over 170,000 members of this denomination, including 3,800 in Hamburg, according to the Witnesses website.
The seat of the community in Germany is in Berlin.
Several deaths after a shooting in a church in Hamburg