Published On: Fri, Mar 10th, 2023

7 dead in shooting at a Jehovah’s Witness hall in Germany

MUNICH — A shooting at a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in the German city of Hamburg killed seven people, as well as the suspected gunman, police said Friday.

A number of others were injured, some of them seriously, in Thursday’s shooting, police said.

“On March 9, 2023 at around 9:00 p.m. local [3 p.m. ET], a suspect shot at visitors to an event in a church on Deelböge Street,” police said in the statement early Friday. According to current information, “8 people were fatally injured, apparently including the alleged perpetrator,” the statement said.

Police have not commented on a possible motive for the shooting, which unfolded in the Gross Borstel district in the north of the country’s second-biggest city.

A warning covering the surrounding area has now been lifted. Police have appealed to the public for any information or digital images of the incident or the alleged shooter.

“Terrible news from #Hamburg. Several members of a Jehovah’s Church fell victim to a brutal act of violence last night,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a tweet Friday morning.

“My thoughts are with them and their families. And with the security forces, who have had a difficult deployment behind them,” said Scholz, a former mayor of Hamburg.

Police responded to the scene late Thursday local time, but clear information was not available until Friday morning.DANIEL REINHARDT / AFP – Getty Images

“We have found a lifeless person in a community center in #GroßBorstel, which we assume could be a perpetrator,” Hamburg police tweeted early Friday.

Earlier, police spokesman Holger Vehren said: “We only know that several people died here; several people are wounded, they were taken to hospitals.”

Vehren said police arrived shortly after they were notified about the shooting at 9:15 p.m. and heard a gunshot from the upstairs area of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Kingdom Hall.

“So far, there is no reliable information on the motive for the crime,” police tweeted then, and they asked people not to spread rumors.

Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher tweeted that the police reports were “shocking.”

“My deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” he said.

Hamburg is Germany’s second-largest city and its wider metropolitan region is home to more than 5 million people, according to the Council of Europe.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are a Christian denomination founded in the United States in 1872. They claim more than 8 million witnesses worldwide.

Carlo Angerer reported from Munich, Patrick Smith from London, and Doha Madani from New York.

Andy Eckardt, Phil Helsel and Associated Press contributed.

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