Munich Shooting: What We Know as of Saturday Morning
MUNICH — Nine people were killed Friday night by a lone gunman and at least 27 were injured at the Olympia Einkaufszentrum or shopping center near the site of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
German authorities said that the gunman, who was dressed in black, was an 18-year-old German-Iranian with dual citizenship who had reportedly lived in Munich for two years. He was not identified but officials said he had no police record although he had been involved in an investigation for several unspecified offences when he was 12 years old in 2010.
Later on Saturday, German authorities said he had no links to the Islamic State or any other organized groups and that his attack was apparently not motivated by religion or the immigration issues that have been the subject of great controversy in Germany, but that he did have an obsession with violent attacks and spree shootings. The timing of the attack – on the fifth anniversary of a massacre in Norway by a right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in a bomb and shooting rampage – did play a factor, however and police suspect that the shooter was aware of the significance of the date. “This connection is obvious,” said Hubertus Andrä, the Polizeipräsident or chief of police.
A search of his home, they said, revealed clippings of newspaper articles on shootings in Germany and elsewhere as well as a German-language copy of the study “Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters,” by an American psychologist. The shooter had been treated for depression, they added.
The shooting began at 5:52 p.m. local time when shots were fired on Hanauer Straße in the Moosach area of the city and continued at a McDonald’s restaurant at the shopping center.
At first, authorities feared there were three shooters. Munich police officials said they were looking for three suspects with “Langwaffen” or “long guns.
“Many shots were fired,” an eyewitness told the Tagesschau, a leading German news program.
The “shooting rampage,” as the Munich police department called it, happened at the height of the Friday evening commute or Feierabend, and the city’s public transportation system was temporarily halted to prevent the suspect or suspects from fleeing via U-Bahn. A state of emergency was declared in the city and residents were asked to stay away from public places and remain home.
Some Munich residents offered those who were stranded by the events a safe haven using the hashtag “#offenetür” or “#opendoor.”
Passengers arriving at Munich Airport found long taxi lines and no public transportation but the airport continued to operate.
There were unfounded reports of a shooter in the city center at Stachus, the local name for Karlsplatz, a large square, and at Munich Airport.
Security had already been heightened after an attack on Monday on a train near the Bavarian town of Treuchtlingen in which a 17-year-old Afghan refugee attacked and injured two people with an ax. Police later shot and killed the attacker.
The Olympia Einkaufszentrum is on the grounds of what was the Olympic Village in 1972, near where 11 Israeli athletes were taken hostage and killed along with a German policeman by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.
The mall, which is near BMW’s four-cylinder headquarters building, is the largest in both the city as well as in the state of Bavaria.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)