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Eight dead in shooting at German Jehovah’s Witness center

German police were investigating Friday the shooting that left eight dead and seriously injured Thursday at a center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Hamburg. The alleged perpetrator of the shooting killed himself when the police arrived, local authorities announced Friday midday.

Several media, including the daily Picture who spoke of a “bloodbath”. According to the first elements of the investigation, the suspect “shot at the participants in a demonstration organized by the community”, specified the police, adding that other people were injured, “some of them they seriously”

“No clues” of a “terrorist” motive

The alleged perpetrator of the shooting, a certain Philipp F., 35, was a former member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the prosecutor announced around noon. “The author fled to the first floor” of the building where members of the community were gathered for a prayer session, “and killed himself”, said the interior minister of the city state. from Hamburg, Andy Grote. Four men and two women, aged 33 to 60, were killed, authorities said Friday. A pregnant woman, injured in the shooting, lost her seven-month-old fetus, which local police counted among the victims to bring their death toll to eight in total.

Eight people were injured, four of them seriously. The rapid arrival of the police, who interrupted his act, made it possible to avoid an even heavier toll, authorities said. The shooter had plenty of ammunition.

“There are no signs of a terrorist context,” said a representative of the Hamburg prosecutor’s office at a press conference. His motives therefore remain to be determined, even if he did not leave the community “on good terms”, according to the police. The testimonies differ on the point of knowing if he was excluded from it or if he left of his own free will.

The man, who had no criminal history, “nurtured a rage against members of religious congregations, particularly Jehovah’s Witnesses and his previous employer,” a police official told a conference Press. The police had however received in January an “anonymous letter” affirming that Philipp F. could suffer “from a psychiatric illness without this having been certified by a doctor as Philipp F. refused to consult” a specialist.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sent his “thoughts” to the victims of the shooting and their loved ones, deploring in a tweet “a brutal act of violence”. As for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they said in a press release “upset” by “the horrible attack” against some of their members, which occurred “after a religious service”.

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