Wednesday 7 December 2016

Munich shooting: Country is in 'deep and profound mourning' - German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Published 22/07/2016 | 17:48

Ali Sonboly and the shooting yesterday
Ali Sonboly and the shooting yesterday
Ali Sonboly
Special forces police officers stand guard at an entrance of the main train station, following a shooting rampage at the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, Germany. Photo: Reuters
People leave the Olympia mall hours after a shooting took place in Munich, southern Germany. Photo: AP
A screen grab taken from video footage shows police officers near the Olympia shopping mall following a shooting rampage in Munich. Photo: Reuters
Masked police stand at a bus stop in front of the Olympia mall where a shooting took place in Munich. Photo: AP
Masked police stand at a bus stop in front of the Olympia mall where a shooting took place in Munich, southern Germany. Photo: AP
A car with a broken window is being towed in front of the Olympia mall where a shooting took place in Munich, southern Germany. Photo: AP
A special force police officer stand guard near the Olympia shopping mall, following a shooting rampage at the mall in Munich, Germany. Photo: Reuters
Special police forces prepare to search a neighbouring shopping centre outside the Olympia mall in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016 after several people have been killed in a shooting. (AP Photo/Sebastian Widmann)
A screen grab taken from video footage shows people being evacuated onto a bus following a shooting rampage at the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, Germany July 22, 2016. REUTERS/Reuters TV
Police escort people who leave the Olympia mall in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016 after shots were fired. Police said that at least six people have been killed. (AP Photo/Sebastian Widmann)
Police escort people who leave the Olympia mall in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016 after shots were fired. Police said that at least six people have been killed. (AP Photo/Sebastian Widmann)
A police officer walks outside the Olympia mall in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016 after shots were fired. Police said that at least six people have been killed. (AP Photo/Sebastian Widmann)
People leave the Olympia mall in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016 after several people have been killed in a shooting. (AP Photo/Sebastian Widmann)
Policemen arrive at a shopping centre in which a shooting was reported in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016. Situation after a shooting in the Olympia shopping centre in Munich is unclear. (Matthias Balk/dpa via AP)
Heavily armed police forces walk through the underground station Karlsplatz (Stachus) after a shooting in the Olympia shopping centre was reported in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016. (Andreas Gebert/dpa via AP)
Emergency services respond to a shooting at a shopping center in Munich, Germany, Friday July 22, 2016. Munich police confirm shots have been fired at Olympia Einkaufszentrum shopping center but say they don't have any details about casualties. Police are responding in large numbers. (Associated Press Television via AP)
Policemen arrive at a shopping centre in which a shooting was reported in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016. Situation after a shooting in the Olympia shopping centre in Munich is unclear. (Matthias Balk/dpa via AP)
A screen grab taken from video footage shows plain clothes police officers attending the scene of a shooting rampage at the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, Germany July 22, 2016. dedinac/Marc Mueller/ handout via REUTERS NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
Police secure a street near to the scene of a shooting in Munich, Germany July 22, 2016. REUTERS/Michael Dalder TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A screen grab taken from video footage shows a woman leaving the Olympia shopping mall during a shooting rampage in Munich, Germany July 22, 2016. dedinac/Marc Mueller/ handout via REUTERS NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
A screen grab taken from video footage shows plain clothes police officers at the scene of a shooting rampage at the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, Germany July 22, 2016. dedinac/Marc Mueller/ handout via REUTERS NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
A screen grab taken from video footage shows plain clothes police officers running towards car park of the Olympia shopping mall during shooting rampage in Munich, Germany July 22, 2016. dedinac/Marc Mueller/ handout via REUTERS NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
Police cars and fire trucks stand near a shopping centre in which a shooting was reported in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016. Situation after a shooting in the Olympia shopping centre in Munich is unclear. (Matthias Balk/dpa via AP)
Armed policemen arrive at a shopping centre in which a shooting was reported in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016. Situation after a shooting in the Olympia shopping centre in Munich is unclear. (Matthias Balk/dpa via AP)
Police in Munich, Germany respond to a shooting at a shopping center in Munich

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said her country is in "deep and profound mourning" after nine people were killed by a lone gunman on a rampage in Munich.

  • Go To

The 18-year-old German-Iranian attacker, named as Ali Sonboly, went on a solo shooting spree at the Olympia shopping centre and a McDonald's restaurant in the Bavarian capital on Friday.

Ali Sonboly
Ali Sonboly

Born and raised in the German city, he murdered nine people and injured 27 others - 10 of whom are in a critical condition, including a 13-year-old boy.

Mrs Merkel said the events are "difficult to bear for everyone" and pledged to "find out the background" of what happened.

People leave the Olympia mall hours after a shooting took place in Munich, southern Germany. Photo: AP
People leave the Olympia mall hours after a shooting took place in Munich, southern Germany. Photo: AP

She added: "What lies behind the people of Munich is a night of horror - we are still shocked by the pictures and reports of the witnesses.

"Nine people who were going shopping on the Friday evening, or wanted to eat something, they are now dead - it seems according to the investigations, hit and killed by the bullets of one single perpetrator."

The Chancellor said the operation between the agencies and security forces on Friday night was "seamless" and thanked them for their "phenomenal" effort.

She added: "We are in deep and profound mourning for those who will never return to their families. The families, siblings, friends to whom everything will be void and empty today.

"I would like to tell them, in the name of many, many people in Germany, we share in your grief, we think of you and we are suffering with you.

"Our thoughts also go out to the numerous injured people - may they recover quickly and completely - they will receive all the support they need.

"Such an evening and such a night are difficult to bear for every one of us. They are even more difficult to bear because we have had so many different and difficult reports of horrors in the past few days."

Officials said the killer used a 9mm pistol and had 300 rounds of ammunition in his rucksack when he went on what they called a "classic shooting rampage".

Masked police stand at a bus stop in front of the Olympia mall where a shooting took place in Munich. Photo: AP
Masked police stand at a bus stop in front of the Olympia mall where a shooting took place in Munich. Photo: AP
A screen grab taken from video footage shows a woman leaving the Olympia shopping mall during a shooting rampage in Munich, Germany July 22, 2016. dedinac/Marc Mueller/ handout via REUTERS NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
Emergency services respond to a shooting at a shopping center in Munich, Germany, Friday July 22, 2016. Munich police confirm shots have been fired at Olympia Einkaufszentrum shopping center but say they don't have any details about casualties. Police are responding in large numbers. (Associated Press Television via AP)

Police said the weapon was a Glock 17 handgun which had had its serial number illegally filed off, and there were indications the gunman had been in psychiatric care and treated for depression.

They confirmed his room in the flat he was living in had been searched, and that documents of "frenzied attacks" had been discovered, but no evidence he had links to Islamic State.

Armed policemen arrive at a shopping centre in which a shooting was reported in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016. Situation after a shooting in the Olympia shopping centre in Munich is unclear. (Matthias Balk/dpa via AP)
Armed policemen arrive at a shopping centre in which a shooting was reported in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016. Situation after a shooting in the Olympia shopping centre in Munich is unclear. (Matthias Balk/dpa via AP)

According to reports the killer had an "obvious" link to Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik - who, five years to the day of the Munich attack, slaughtered 77 people.

Police investigator Robert Heimberger told a police press conference in Munich that it appeared the gunman had hacked a Facebook account and lured people to the shopping centre with an offer of free food.

The posting, sent from a young woman's account, urged people to go to the centre at 4pm, saying: "I'll give you something if you want, but not too expensive."

Mr Heimberger said they are investigating as "it appears it was prepared by the suspect and then sent out".

Officials said the attacker was not known to them and had no criminal record. He had been in psychiatric care and was treated for depression. He later killed himself.

Three of the victims are believed to be from Kosovo, three from Turkey and one from Greece - seven of the dead are understood to be teenagers.

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.

Read More: Munich killer (18) named as Ali Sonboly posed as a teenage girl on Facebook 'in bid to lure victims'

Investigators are also probing claims he may have set up a fake Facebook account which he used to post an advert offering free food in a bid to lure children to their deaths.

Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae told a news conference the suspect was a dual citizen from Munich and his motive was still "fully unclear".

Mr Andrae said the suspect's body was found about 2 1/2 hours after the attack and was identified to be the shooter based on witness statements and closed circuit television footage of the attack. He was not previously known to police and there was no evidence of any links to terrorist organisations, Mr Andrae said.

Read More: 'A quiet guy, no criminal record' - everything we know about the gunman on Saturday morning

Witnesses had reported seeing three men with firearms near the Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall. However, the police chief said two people who fled the area quickly were investigated but had "nothing to do with the incident".

Mr Andrae said the nine fatalities included young people and children were among the 16 wounded, three of whom were in critical condition.

Mr Andrae said the suspect's body was found about 2 1/2 hours after the attack and was identified to be the shooter based on witness statements and closed circuit television footage of the attack. He was not previously known to police and there was no evidence of any links to terrorist organisations, Mr Andrae said.

Read More: 'We can't believe terror has come to Munich', says Irish barman caught up in lockdown

Witnesses had reported seeing three men with firearms near the Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall. However, the police chief said two people who fled the area quickly were investigated but had "nothing to do with the incident".

Mr Andrae said the nine fatalities included young people and children were among the 16 wounded, three of whom were in critical condition.

Neighbours of the attacker told German media that he was a "quiet guy."

"He lived right next to me," German newspaper Bild quoted a neighbour as saying.

Read More: 'There was panic in their faces' - eyewitnesses describe 'pandemonium' of Munich attack

"A friend of mine went to school with him and said he was rather a quiet guy. He recognised him from the videos from the scene."

Police commandos, armed with night vision equipment and dogs, raided an apartment in the Munich neighbourhood of Maxvorstadt early on Saturday where Bild said the gunman lived with his parents.

Friday was also the fifth anniversary of the massacre in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people. Breivik is a hero for far-right militants in Europe and America.

Thousands of people had been crowding the streets and squares in Munich's city centre on Friday for a beer festival.

"There were a few people who came running towards us who were screaming and in panic. But mostly it was surprisingly calm," said Elena Hakes, wearing a blue traditional dress, who had been with a friend in the Odeonsplatz square.

The incidents in Germany follow an attack in Nice, France, in which a Tunisian drove a truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day, killing 84. Islamic State claimed responsibility.

The Munich assault was also reminiscent of militant attacks in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013, and in Mumbai, India, in 2008.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende said on Twitter: "Horrible killings in Munich. Taking place on the same day as we mourn & remember the appalling terror that hit Norway so hard five years ago."

 

Online Editors

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News