It is not yet clear if the suspects fled or are among the victims, based on the version of a body found on an upper floor. The attack occurred at a Jehovah’s Witness church. There is no record of such a case in the city.
At least seven people died and another eight were injured this Thursday after a shooting inside a temple of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the city of Hamburg, in northern Germany, according to sources from the fire service cited by several local media.
“A major police intervention is taking place at the moment in Alsterdorf”, a neighborhood in the north of the city, the Hamburg (northwest) police confirmed on Twitter.
Shots and death in a Jehovah’s Witness temple in Hamburg, Germany. AP Photo
Around 9:00 p.m. (local time) the first emergency calls began to be received from the fire brigade and the police, who dispatched a large number of ambulances to the area.
According to the first versions, the shooters fled. But other media such as Bild reported another hypothesis, based on police sources.
The German newspaper maintained that, at the scene of the shooting, they found the seventh dead, alone, on the upper floor, for which the investigators suspect that he could be one of the perpetrators of the attack: “It is not yet clear,” said the police , according to the same medium. Nor were any indications discovered that the attacker was able to escape from the place, the spokesman said. “For the moment, the situation has calmed down a lot,” he added.
Local authorities spread the alarm and asked residents to stay in their homes until the area was secured, while cordoning off the streets around the church.
Neither the police nor any other authority, for the moment, gave exact information on the victims. “Many elements of law enforcement are in place,” the security authority added on Twitter.
Shock in Hamburg and an unparalleled case: “A bloodbath” in a temple
The Bild newspaper, in its first impressions of how the religious site was attacked, spoke of a “bloodbath.” They also reconstructed that the meetings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in that headquarters are held twice a week and last about three-quarters of an hour.
The place is located very close to a kindergarten, a tennis club and many residential buildings and apartments. Hamburg’s sports center is only a few hundred meters away, as is the German City Park.
Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher wrote on Twitter: “The reports from Alsterdorf/Groß Borstel are shocking. My condolences to the families of the victims. The emergency services are working at full speed to locate the perpetrators and clarify the background.”
The second mayor of Hamburg, Katharina Fegebank, was also shocked, expressed her condolences to friends and relatives of the victims and thanked the emergency services.
The German media talk about the bloodiest crime in Hamburg in recent decades. They recall that almost 30 years ago, on November 10, 1996, a pimp and his accomplices stormed a brothel on Budapester Strasse and opened fire. There two people died and another six were injured. But the massive crime this Thursday apparently goes further.