Munich police warned people to stay inside and avoid public places Friday as they hunted for the shooter or shooters who opened fire at a shopping mall, killing at least nine people and wounding others in a rampage they described as suspected terrorism.
“At the moment no culprit has been arrested,” police in the Bavarian capital said on social media. “The search is taking place at high speed.”
Germany’s elite GSG9 anti-terror police, as well as federal police, were called in to help.
The German news agency dpa reported that bomb experts were checking the body of a man found about a kilometer away from the Munich shooting scene for possible explosives.
A backpack was found on the body, which is now being examined. Police have said they’re trying to determine if the body is that of a shooter.
Witnesses reported seeing three men with firearms near the Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall. A Munich police spokesman said police were aware of media reports that a man killed himself as officers closed in. He told reporters that the dead body of a man had been found near the shopping center and investigators were trying to determine whether he was one of the assailants.
“The possibility that this was someone involved in the crime is currently being closely examined,” he said.
The city sent a smartphone alert telling people to stay indoors and German rail company Deutsche Bahn stopped train traffic to Munich’s main station.
The attack started at a fast food restaurant shortly before 6 p.m. local time, police spokesman Thomas Baumann told German news agency dpa.
A video posted online purported to show civilians fleeing the scene of the attack.
Video obtained by The Associated Press from German news agency NonstopNews showed two bodies with sheets draped over them not far from a McDonald’s across from the mall.
A video appeared to show the shooter opening fire at civilians outside the fast food restaurant.
Warning: Images may be disturbing
Germany’s Interior Ministry said Munich police had set up a hotline for concerned citizens. On Twitter, police asked people to refrain from speculating on the attack. Germany’s interior minister cut short his holiday in the United States to go back to Berlin late Friday to meet with security officials.
Bayrischer Rundfunk reported that shops in the center of Munich had closed with customers inside though police said reports of shots fired at a location downtown had been a false alarm.
Police responded in large numbers to the mall in the northern part of Munich, not far from the city’s Olympic Stadium in the Moosach district of the Bavarian capital.
It was also not far from the Olympic stadium used in the 1972 games, where Palestinian terrorists abducted and later killed 11 Israeli athletes.
Residents of the city were offering their homes on social media to people in need of a safe location off the streets, using the hashtag #OffeneTür (Open Door).
— Jelena Vukadinovic (@jelena_v89) July 22, 2016
It was the second attack in Germany in less than a week. On Monday, a 17-year-old teen wounded four people in an ax-and-knife attack on a regional train near the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg, and another woman outside as he fled. All survived, although one man from the train remains in life-threatening condition. The attacker was shot and killed by police.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the train attack, but authorities have said the teen likely acted alone.
Munich police called the mall shooting “suspected terrorism” in a statement but did not elaborate on who might have been behind it.
In the US, President Barack Obama pledged to provide Germany with whatever help it might need to investigate the mall shooting.
German President Joachim Gauck said he was “horrified” by the “murderous attack” in Munich.
“I am with all the victims in my thoughts and all those who are mourning or fearful for loved ones,” he said in a statement, adding that his “solidarity” was with emergency services personnel trying to “protect people and save lives.”
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.