An 18-year-old German-Iranian man opened fire in a crowded Munich shopping mall and a nearby McDonald’s killing nine people and wounding 16 others before killing himself, the chief of police in the Bavarian capital said on Saturday, the Telegraph informs.
Police gave a “cautious all clear” early on Saturday morning, more than seven hours after the attack began and brought much of the city to a standstill as all public transit systems were shut down amid a massive manhunt. They said a body found near the scene was that of the shooter and he appeared to have acted alone.
Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae said the suspect’s body was found about 2 1/2 hours after the attack and was determined to be the shooter based on witness statements and closed circuit television footage of the attack. The shooter was not previously known to police and there was no evidence of any links to terrorist organisations, Andrae said.
Witnesses had reported seeing three men with firearms near the Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall, but the police chief said two other people who fled the area quickly were investigated but had “nothing to do with the incident.”
Andrae said the nine fatalities included young people and children were among the 16 wounded, three of whom were in critical condition.
After gunfire broke out at the mall, one of Munich’s largest, the city sent a smartphone alert declaring an “emergency situation” and telling people to stay indoors, while all rail, subway and trolley service was halted in the city.
Munich police said reports came in shortly before 6pm local time (19:00 GMT) about a shooting incident near Hanauer Street, which then progressed to Ries Street and the Olympia shopping centre.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was being regularly briefed on the attack, Peter Altmaier, her chief of staff, said.
“All that we can say right now is that it was a cruel and inhumane attack,” he said on German public channel ARD.
Germany’s interior minister Thomas de Maiziere cut short his holiday in the United States to go back to the capital, Berlin, late on Friday to meet with security officials.
In the US, President Barack Obama pledged to provide Germany with whatever help it might need to investigate the shooting.
It was the third major act of violence against civilians in Western Europe in eight days. The previous attacks, in the French resort city of Nice and on a train in Bavaria near the city of Wuerzburg, were claimed by the Islamic State group.
President Iohannis, PM Ciolos, MAE condemn attack, convey condolences
President Klaus Iohannis tweeted on Friday night a message of solidarity with Germany. “My thoughts now go to the families and friends of the victims and wounded in the horrible attack in Munich. Solidarity with Germany,” the president wrote.
Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos issued a press statement on Saturday: “I am near to the German people with the most sincere thoughts of compassion and condolences for the victims to the families and friend of those who lost their life or were injured in the dreadful armed attack in Munich. Such acts of violence, jeopardizing or unjustly taking human life, are inadmissible.”
The Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) also used social media on Friday to express “the deepest condolences to the victims of the dreadful attack in Munich. Our thoughts and prayers go to the German People.” An official release followed, reading: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs repeats the condemnation of all acts of this type and firmly rejects violence, irrespective their reasons and forms of expression, especially those that jeopardize human life.”
MAE was able to confirm late on Friday night that there were no Romanians among the victims of the single attacker.