After another day of tragedy and drama, where the police had earlier suggested that as many as three gunmen were behind a deadly shooting in a shopping center in Munich, Germany moments ago the local police reported that the gunman was in fact a lone 18-year-old of German and Iranian origin who is believed to have carried out the "shooting rampage" on his own, killing at least nine people before later apparently killing himself.
The shooting attack at a McDonald's attached to the Olympia Einkaufszentrum shopping center at around 5:50 p.m. local time (11:50 a.m. ET) Friday led authorities to lock down the city. Public transportation was shut down and residents were warned to stay away from public places. Police said nine people had been killed and at least 10 were wounded. Around 100 people witnessed the shooting. Authorities found a 10th body about 1 km (0.6 miles) from the scene that was later determined to be the likely gunman.
"Careful all-clear," Munich police said on Twitter early Saturday. "As part of our manhunt we found one person that killed himself. With high probability it is the suspect, who — according to the present state of investigation — acted alone."
It was the third major act of violence against civilians in Western Europe in eight days. Previous attacks in France and Germany were claimed by the Islamic State militant group.
A police spokesman said there was no immediate indication that it was an Islamist attack but it was being treated as a terrorist incident. Friday is also the fifth anniversary of the massacre by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway in which he killed 77 people. Breivik is a hero for far-right militants in Europe and America.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the motive for the attack was not yet clear.
The gunman was an 18-year-old German-Iranian from Munich who had been living in the city for more than two years, Munich Police President Hubertus Andrae said. A motive is unknown, he said. The gunman, who was not identified, was found dead at around 8:30 p.m. and police believe he likely killed himself. Twenty-one people were hospitalized, three of whom were critically wounded, police said.
Cited by NBC, Munich police spokesman Marcus da Gloria Martins said in a press conference earlier that "we are operating on the premise of a terrorist attack," but Andrae said later that links to terror had not been established.
A police spokesman initially said up to three gunmen were on the run after the shooting. The Bavarian capital was placed under a state of emergency as police hunted for them and special forces deployed in the city. "We are telling the people of Munich there are shooters on the run who are dangerous," he said. "We are urging people to stay indoors."
Police said witnesses described multiple suspects wielding long guns, but Andrae said that claim was unfounded. Which is strange, because similar "mistakes" were made both in Orlando several weeks ago, as well as in Nice last week, when initial reports of multiple attackers ultimately turned out to be "lone wolves."
Even stranger, he said a handgun was used in the shooting, and no long gun was present. The suspected gunman did not have a police record, Andrae said.
Special forces from Bavaria, other German states and from federal police were on duty in the city, Munich police said. Around 2,300 officers were deployed, Andrae said. The National Security Cabinet will meet Saturday.
In the aftermath of the shooting, police received several reports of other shootings and hostage taking scenarios during the course of evening, but none turned out to be real, Andrae said. The U.S. State Department warned Americans to shelter in place amid the uncertainty. All Munich public transportation — subway, bus, and tram — was shut down after the shooting, and police tweeted in several languages pleading for the public to "please avoid public areas." By shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday local time, police said transportation was back to normal.
The sprawling two-story Olympia Einkaufszentrum opened in 1972 during the Summer Olympics in Munich, according to the mall's website. "It is terrible and sheer inconceivable what happened in Munich. We are mourning the victims and are in our thoughts with the relatives," German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in a statement. "We can unconditionally rely on the Bavarian security forces. In these hours our special thanks goes out to them."
Video Shows Cops Entering Munich Garage as Shots Are Fired
In the aftermath of the shooting, Barack Obama said that "The United States condemns in the strongest terms the apparent terrorist attack that has claimed innocent lives in Munich, Germany," the White House said in a statement. "We still do not know all of the facts, but we do know that this heinous act has killed and injured multiple individuals in the heart of one of Europe's most vibrant cities," the statement said. The U.S. State Department later issued a statement condemning the attack, but that statement did not use the word terrorism.
Europe has been on edge following terror attacks in France and Belgium. The shooting is the second attack in Germany's Bavaria region this week.
Earlier today, before news of the shooting hit, we reported that more than three-quarters of Germans believe their country will soon be the target of terrorism, a survey showed on Friday, after a 17-year-old asylum-seeker wounded passengers on a train in an ax attack claimed by Islamic State. Seventy-seven percent expect an attack to happen soon, up from 69 percent two weeks ago, according to the survey compiled by Forschungsgruppe Wahlen for broadcaster ZDF as initially reported by Reuters.
Within hours they were proven right.
And now that the initial shock is over, we look forward to what the fallout will be and whether Angela Merkel once again does nothing but engage in more #hashtag diplomacy, while waiting for the next terrorist attack to arrive.
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What is known so far:
- A mass shooting took place at the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, Germany. Multiple casualties and injuries have been reported, with local police confirming 9 have been killed and many injured.
- According to a statement by the Munich police witnesses report three different people with firearms.
- No perpetrators have been arrested and the search them continues. Officers ask everyone in the urban area of Munich to stay indoors.
- Reuters add that the local police believes it is dealing with a "shooting rampage" following unconfirmed reports of a second shooter
- Public transportation services have been halted on multiple train, tram and bus lines after the shooting. The main train station in Munich is currently being evacuated.
- The Munich police has cited an "acute terror threat."
- German Magazine Focus says that according to police sources, the one of the perpetrators has shot himself in the head.
Update 33: Munich police have issued an 'all-clear' and re-opened public transport stating the gunman - who acted alone - has killed himself.
Munich police gave a "cautious all clear" early Saturday morning, more than seven hours after a gunman opened fire in a crowded shopping mall and at a nearby McDonalds killing nine people and wounding at least 10 others in a rampage authorities called an act of terrorism.
A body found near the scene was that of the shooter and he appeared to have acted alone, officials said.
Witnesses had reported seeing three men with firearms near the Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall, but police said on Twitter that "as part of our manhunt we found a person who had killed himself — the person is likely to have been the attacker who, according to the current state of the investigation, acted alone."
They lifted a shutdown of all public transport in the Bavarian capital, and said more details would be disclosed at a press conference later in the morning.
The only question left now is how will the otherwise patient German population react after not one but two Mass attacks in one week.
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Update 32: German media are reporting that police want to investigate one of the dead bodies with a robot. Bavarian broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk says a male body was found about one kilometer from the scene of the attack the result of a "violent death." Police are determining whether this could be an attacker.
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Update 31: Germany security council to meet tomorrow. A security council of the German parliament will meet tomorrow to discuss the attack in Munich. Chancellor Angela Merkel will be joined by the German defence minister, vice-chancellor, foreign minister, justice minister, finance minister, development minister and interior minister. Federal Minister for Special Affairs, Peter Altmaier, who will also be at the meeting, said: "We are determined to do all we can so that terrorism and misanthropic violence have no chance in Germany."
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Update 30: "Nobody wants to live in a surveillance state"
Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, has issued a statement, saying that the government "isn't ruling out any particular motivation behind the attacks," and insisting that "no one wants to live in a surveillance state," which would be needed to guarantee total public security.
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Update 29: Munich police say they have found 9th body at the shooting scene, AP reports, checking to see if a shooter.
The remained of the Tollwood Festival, which was supposed to wrap up in Olympiapark, near the shopping center, has now been canceled, according to police. Munich's nightclubs will also not be open tonight.
Police now say that including the body that has been found, the number of casualties of the attack has risen to nine. Authorities say that one of the bodies - the one found in the street, near the Olympia - may belong to one of the perpetrators. Earlier, on social media there had been speculation that one of the men committed suicide in the aftermath of the attack.
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Update 28: The White House issues a statement "strongly condemning" the apparent terrorist attack...
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Update 27: A police spokesman confirms that the number of dead is now 8.
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Update 26: Below is a translation of the incident captured in the video between the alleged shooter and a man on a balcony:
Man: "You fucking Asshole you..."
Shooter: "Because of you I [unintelligible]..."
Balcony Man: "You cunt you. you're a cunt"
Shooter: "...and now I have to buy a gun to shoot you"
Balcony Man: "a gun fuck off your head isn't on right"
Shooter and Balcony man shouting at each other
Balcony Man apparently to people filming: "He's got a gun here the guy has one"
Unseen voice: "Shit/Fucking Turks!"
Balcony Man: "Shit/Fucking Kanacken" (foreigners basically)
Balcony man to someone else : "EY! HE'S GOT A GUN! He has loaded his gun! Get the cops here!"
Shooter: "I am German."
Balcony Man: "You're a cunt is what you are"
Shooter: "Stop filming!"
Balcony Man: "A cunt is what you are, what the fuck are you doing?"
Shooter: "Yeah what, I was born here!"
Balcony Man: "Yeah and what the fuck you think you're doing???"
Shooter: "I grew up here in the Hartz 4 (unemployment benefits in Germany) area.
Balcony Man and Shooter talk at same time, can't make it out.
Shooter says something about "Behandlung" which is "treatment" in both medical treatment or just how you treat people,not sure which one he means.
Balcony Man says something like "Yeah treatment is something for you"
Shooter: "I haven't done anything here for [unintelligible]"
Shooter: "Just shut your fucking face man"
Balcony Man: "You cunt you"
Balcony Man: "HEY! HE'S ON THE UPPER FLOOR HERE [unintelligible]"
Filming man goes into cover, shooter starts firing.
Balcony man calls him a cunt again.
Balcony man shouts something at him about "shooting here" and Shooter replies multiple times "Yeah, that's where you're right! Yeah you're right with that!" Yeah you're right!"
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Update 25: RT's video agency Ruptly has posted a video of survivors filing out of the Olympia shopping center. The footage also shows one of the victims lying dead in the street, in the vicinity of the McDonald's where one of the gunmen opened fire
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Update 24: an alleged photo of the shooter
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Update 23: a couple of conflicting reports. According to one, the gunman was Muslim.
- ACCORDING TO CNN, THE MUNICH GUNMAN SHOUTED ALLAHU AKBAR AND TARGETED CHILDREN
On the other hand, The International Spectator reports that the gundman was targeting Muslims:
- BREAKING: Reports Munich gunman shouted 'you f***ing Turks!'
Perhaps at this point it is best to wait before trying to determine the motivation of the shooters.
Munich Police says: no indications of islamic terror— SZ München (@SZ_Muenchen) July 22, 2016
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Update 22: The German government is preparing for a crisis situation
- GERMAN NEWS AGENCY DPA SAYS GOVERNMENT PREPARING FOR CRISIS SITUATION DUE TO SHOOTING IN MUNICH
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Update 21: Munich police have confirmed on Facebook that six people have been killed. A Munich police spokesman has just announced that police are looking for up to three perpetrators. Many people are severely injured.
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Update 20: President Barack Obama, who had been updated on the situation, has said that his "heart goes out" to the victims of the attack, and reaffirmed that Germany remains of Washington's "closest allies."
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Update 19: A local resident, Dominic Faust, was in another shopping centre in central Munich when there were reports of a separate shooting. Speaking to BBC World TV, he described the fear and panic:
Well, about two hours ago people came screaming inside the mall. Those people told us that there was a shooting outside and so the security closed the door of this mall and asked everybody to go upstairs to the fifth floor. This is where I am right now with about 150 other folks and we are asked not to leave the building.
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Update 18: ACCORDING TO REUTERS CITING GERMAN MAGAZINE FOCUS, POLICE SOURCES ARE SAYING THAT PERPETRATOR SHOT HIMSELF IN THE HEAD
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Update 17: According to an i24News update, the alleged shooter shouted obscenties about foreigners and said that "I am German"
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Update 16: A local journalist, Jeanette Winter, journalist at Bavaria Public Radio, is shocked that terrorism has come to Munich
When the attack on the train happened everybody was shocked, of course, but we thought, well, that was just one person. To be honest I thought terror would not come to Munich. Now terror has struck our beautiful city... Oktoberfest will be held soon and that is, of course, a target for terrorists - we are all feeling very, very bad right now.
Journalist at Bavaria Public Radio, speaking to BBC World News
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Update 15: CNN has broadcast an interview with an eyewitness, who said that the assailants were "masked, and dressed all in black."
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Update 14: A local barman at a pub in Munich has described the sense of growing panic as news broke of shots fired at a local shopping centre. Sam Pound, who works at the nearby Kilians Irish bar said: "We're getting information from BBC News and local Twitter feeds from German authorities, but it's hard to know what's realistic and what's not.
"We've heard about another attack about 400 metres from us which is very worrying.
"We're in a cellar bar so we feel quite safe, but when you go to the street you can hear a lot of sirens and helicopters."
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Update 13: BBC has released the following photos of armed officers are surrounding the Karlsplatz area of Munich. Here are some pictures from the scene.
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Update 12: Another message from the Munich police:
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Update 11: Lena Deutch, a police reporter for Bavarian Radio cited by BBC, says police are trying to clear everyone off the streets in parts of central Munich, as they search for the person or people who carried out the shooting.
All of the police forces are at the shopping centre and at the official places in Munich as well and they're calling out that nobody's allowed to go to the official places. They are trying to close everything down because we do not know where this person who's been doing the shooting is at the moment.
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Update 10: According to the Munich police, witnesses report three different people with firearms, the Munich police say in a statement on their Facebook page. The number of victims is currently not known.
No perpetrators have been arrested and the search for them continues.
Officers ask everyone in the urban area of Munich to stay indoors.
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Update 9: Taxi drivers have been told not to pick up passengers from the area near the Stachus, also known as Karlsplatz, according to this tweet.
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Update 8: BBC adds that staff in the shopping centre are still hiding inside, an employee told Reuters news agency by telephone.
"Many shots were fired, I can't say how many but it's been a lot," the employee, who declined to be identified, said from the shopping centre.
"All the people from outside came streaming into the store and I only saw one person on the ground who was so severely injured that he definitely didn't survive.
"We have no further information, we're just staying in the back in the storage rooms. No police have approached us yet."
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Update 7: another video from the incident:
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Update 6: According to Reuters, local police believe there is now a "shooting rampage" in Munich
UPDATE: 'We believe we are dealing with a shooting rampage' - Munich police. https://t.co/iktpvLwv89— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 22, 2016
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Update 5: an unconfirmed video of what may be a second shooting
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Update 4: MUNICH TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITIES SAY HAVE HALTED SERVICE ON MULTIPLE TRAIN, TRAM AND BUS LINES AFTER SHOOTING
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Update 3: GERMAN SPECIAL FORCE POLICE HAVE ARRIVED AT MUNICH SHOOTING LOCATION - NTV TELEVISION
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Update 2: MUENCHER ABENDZEITUNG NEWSPAPER REPORTS POSSIBLE 15 DEATHS IN MUNICH SHOOTING, GERMAN TELEVISION NTV SAYS POSSIBLY 10 DEAD
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Update 1: Munich police have confirmed casualties and there are reports of a possible second shooting. The Munich subway has also been halted after N24 reported that the police is hunting for a single gunman who may have tried to escape using the subway.
Police in Germany say there's been a shooting at a shopping center in Munich. https://t.co/CuHAmAxEZu— The Associated Press (@AP) July 22, 2016
#BREAKING One dead, 10 injured in shooting at Munich shopping centre: police source— AFP news agency (@AFP) July 22, 2016
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As we detailed earlier, for the second time in a week, Germany is facing another 'incident' as The BBC reports "shots fired" in a Munich, Germany shopping center. According to the local police there is now a "major operation" at the Olympia shopping center. As BBC adds, reports say the area round the shopping centre in the district of Moosach has been sealed off, but details of the incident are sketchy. The security forces have been on alert after a migrant stabbed five people on a train in Bavaria on Monday.
The authorities had warned of the danger of further attacks.
The alleged shooting takes place shortly after Reuters reported that more than three-quarters of Germans believe their country will soon be the target of terrorism, a survey showed on Friday, after a 17-year-old asylum-seeker wounded passengers on a train in an ax attack claimed by Islamic State.
Seventy-seven percent expect an attack to happen soon, up from 69 percent two weeks ago, according to the survey compiled by Forschungsgruppe Wahlen for broadcaster ZDF.
Bavarian police shot dead the teenager after he wounded four people from Hong Kong on the train and injured a local resident while fleeing.
And now, according to unconfirmed reports, it just happened as up to 15 people are feared dead after 30 shots were fired.