BERLIN—Several people were dead following a shooting at a Jehovah’s Witnesses center in the northern German city of Hamburg Thursday evening, local police said.
Several people were seriously injured, the police said. It said a large law-enforcement contingent fanned out in the area.
The shooting took place in a Jehovah’s Witnesses center, a police spokesman at the scene told reporters. The spokesman said that upon entering the building, the police officers heard a gunshot upstairs.
After hearing the shot, officers searched the building’s higher floors and found another person there.
“We have no indication that a shooter is at large,” the spokesman told reporters at the scene. “On the contrary, we have indications that a suspect might be inside the building and possibly among the dead.”
The spokesman said authorities couldn’t yet confirm how many people had died. Several German media reported that at least six people had been killed, with emergency services at the scene.
Police said that there isn’t any reliable information on the motive of the crime so far.
The police spokesman said explosives experts were searching the building for dangerous objects before forensic specialists could enter.
“Our measures and investigations are running at full speed,” the Hamburg police said on Twitter.
Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher said on Twitter that the reports of the shooting were shocking. “My deepest sympathy goes to the relatives of the victims,” he wrote.
The shooting took place around 9 p.m. local time, according to the Federal Office for Civil Protection.
In an alert, the office warned of “extreme danger” and asked drivers to avoid the area. It urged those nearby to remain in their current location and not go outside.
Mass shootings are rare in Germany, where gun ownership is severely restricted.
The latest large-scale attack in recent years took place in Hanau, Western Germany, in 2020, when a far-right extremist killed nine people in a shooting spree targeting a migrant community. He later killed himself and his mother.
In December 2016, Anis Amri, a rejected Tunisian asylum seeker and drug dealer, killed 13 people after ramming a stolen truck into a Christmas market in the center of Berlin. He was later shot dead by Italian police in Milan.
In July of that year, a youngster harboring racist motives killed nine people and left 36 wounded in a shooting at a shopping center in Munich, Southern Germany. He then killed himself.
After focusing on Islamist militants following a string of smaller attacks by supporters of Islamic States and other extremist groups in 2016, German security agencies switched their focus to far-right groups, which they currently consider the main domestic security threat in the country.
In December last year, authorities said they had detained 25 people after dismantling a suspected far-right terror group that they said was planning a violent coup to overthrow the government.
Write to Georgi Kantchev at firstname.lastname@example.org
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