Sunday 25 February 2018

Killer's 'dark web' pistol sparks gun control calls

Young people mourn outside the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, Germany, the scene of
a mass shooting on Friday Photo: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters
Young people mourn outside the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, Germany, the scene of a mass shooting on Friday Photo: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

Justin Huggler and Zia Weise

The German government has called for EU-wide gun controls in the wake of the Munich shootings, as it emerged that the teenage attacker had bought a gun from Slovakia or the Czech Republic on the "dark web".

The call came as police said Ali Sonboly had planned the shootings "intensively" for more than a year, and left behind a "manifesto".

The Munich killer begins his shooting spree
The Munich killer begins his shooting spree

No details have yet been released of 'manifesto' which was found in the flat where Sonboly lived with his parents.

One of the mysteries of the shootings has been how Sonboly managed to get hold of a Glock handgun and the 300 rounds of ammunition police found in his rucksack.

Police said yesterday that he had purchased the weapon for a few hundred euro on the so-called "dark web", an area of the internet not accessible without special software.

Joachim Herrmann, the Bavarian state interior minister, said the gun was supplied from Slovakia or the Czech Republic. The disclosure raised concerns over the ease with which guns can be bought and sold across the open borders of the Schengen Area.

Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister, called for the EU to adopt a common policy on gun controls.

"Our gun laws are already very strict, and I think this is correct," Mr de Maiziere told Germany's 'Bild am Sonntag' newspaper.

"In Europe, we want to make further progress with a common weapons policy. First we have to determine how the Munich perpetrator procured a weapon. Then we have to look very carefully at where to make legal changes."

Police said the gun used by Sonboly was a deactivated weapon certified for use as a theatrical prop.

Its most recent documentation was from Slovakia in 2014.

Mr Herrmann said it had already been reactivated by the time Sonboly obtained it.

Police have uncovered what they say is extensive evidence of how Sonboly planned the attack for more than a year.

No details have been released of the content of a "manifesto" Sonboly left behind, but he is known to have idolised Anders Breivik, the far-Right Norwegian terrorist who also released a personal manifesto after the 2011 attacks in which he killed 77 people.

He was in hospital between July and September last year with acute anxiety and social phobia, and possibly also depression, Robert Heimberger, the Bavarian police chief, said.

Officials said the 18-year-old German-Iranian had been a victim of bullying who suffered from panic attacks set off by contact with other people.

The teenager had been seeing a doctor for treatment over a number of psychiatric problems which began in 2015 with inpatient hospital care, followed up with outpatient visits.

Toxicological and autopsy results are still not available, so it is not yet clear whether he was taking medication when he embarked on his shooting spree on Friday.

Investigators said the gunman had been bullied by schoolmates at least once four years ago, and had been fascinated by previous mass shootings.

Sonboly visited the scene of a 2009 school shooting in the German town of Winnenden, in which 16 people were killed last summer as part of his preparations for the attack, police said.

None of the bullies were among his victims, however, and none of those killed were known to him.

Poignant tributes were last night paid to victims who included Sevda Dag, a 45-year-old Turkish-German. Two other Turkish-Germans, Selcuk Kilic (15) and Can Leyla (14), were part of a group of five friends, including Roberto Rafael (15), Sabina Sulaj (14), and Armela Segashi (14), who all died in the shooting.

Sabina and Armela, as well as another of Sonboly's victims - Dijamant Zabergja (21) - were Kosovo-Albanians. Kosovo held a day of mourning yesterday, lowering flags to half mast.

Others came to pay respects to Giuliano Kollman (18) and Hussein Daitzik (17). Giuliano played for local football team FC Aschheim as a goalkeeper.

Hussein, a young man of Greek origin, was killed shielding his teenage sister from the bullets, saving her life.

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