8 killed, including gunman, at Jehovah’s Witness hall shooting in Germany


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8 killed, including gunman, at Jehovah’s Witness hall shooting in Germany

AFTERMATH. Undertakers transport the body of a victim of a deadly shooting at a building housing a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, in Hamburg, northern Germany, on March 10, 2023.

Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

The gunman appears to have been a former member of the Jehovah's Witness community

HAMBURG, Germany – Eight people were killed and others were wounded in a shooting at a Jehovah’s Witness place of worship in the German city of Hamburg and the gunman was among the dead, police said on Friday, March 10.

In a statement on Twitter, police said they believed there to be one perpetrator in the Thursday evening, March 9, attack and were investigating motives.

The gunman appeared to have been a former member of the Jehovah’s Witness community, Spiegel magazine reported. The man was aged between 30 and 40 and was not known to authorities as an extremist, the report said, citing unnamed sources.

A spokesperson for Hamburg police could not confirm the details, referring to a news conference planned for later in the morning.

Police received a call soon after 9 pm (2000 GMT) on Thursday and officers arrived at the scene to find several people seriously injured and some dead.

“Then they heard a shot from above, they went upstairs and found one further person,” said a police spokesperson.

The Bild newspaper reported that eight people were wounded in the shooting in Hamburg, which is Germany’s second most populous city and home to the country’s biggest port.

Mobile phone footage recorded by a resident across the street from the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in the Alsterdorf district of the city showed a person outside the building shooting in through a window.

“I heard loud gunshots,” said the witness, who declined to give his name. “I saw a man shooting at a window with a firearm.”

Reuters could not immediately establish how the gunman died.

Television footage showed dozens of police cars as well as fire engines blocking off streets and some people, wrapped in blankets, being led by emergency service workers onto a bus.

“We heard shots,” one unidentified witness told reporters. “There were 12 continuous shots,” he said. “Then we saw how people were taken away in black bags.”

Germany has been shaken by a number of shootings in the last few years. In February 2020, a gunman with suspected far-right links shot dead nine people, including migrants from Turkey, in the western town of Hanau before killing himself and his mother.

In October 2019, a gunman killed two people when he opened fire outside a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.

The mayor of Hamburg expressed shock at Thursday’s bloodshed.

“I extend my deepest sympathy to the families of the victims. The forces are working at full speed to pursue the perpetrators and clarify the background,” Peter Tschentscher said on Twitter. –

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