There is “no evidence” that the suspected gunman who killed nine people in a shooting spree at a Munich shopping mall on Friday had links to the Islamic State group, local police chief Hubertus Andrae said Saturday.
Munich prosecutors said Saturday that the shooter in the attack — named in the media as 18-year-old Iranian-German national Ali Sonboly, the son of a taxi driver — had been in psychiatric care and treated for depression. The attack appears to be a “classic shooting rampage” and not terrorism, the prosecutor said. Police said investigators suspect the gunman was “deranged.”
Munich police raided an apartment in the German city on Saturday morning, which media said was owned by the gunman’s father, as investigators searched for a motive for the attack, which ended when the youth turned the gun on himself.
Police said earlier Saturday that they were hunting for something that could explain why the youth opened fire at the crowded Olympia Einkaufzentrum OEZ mall and a McDonald’s restaurant.
The police chief told a news conference that the youth was born and raised in Munich, and that the crime and the perpetrator had “absolutely no” link to the issue of refugees. He said that police have found no indications that anyone other than one shooter was involved.
Police investigator Robert Hemberger said the guman was armed with 9mm Glock pistol and had 300 rounds of ammunition on him.
Munich police spokesman Peter Beck said officers were still collecting evidence at the scene of the crime Saturday morning.
“With regard to the suspect we have to examine everything, but we don’t know yet what triggered the crime,” Beck said.
Officers seized material in the apartment on Dachauer Strasse in the city’s Marxvorstadt district, about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the mall where the gunman went on his rampage.
Reuters said that officers used night-vision equipment and dogs during the search of the home.
Meanwhile, Kosovo’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday that three of its nationals were among the nine people killed in the rampage.
“Three citizens of Kosovo are among the victims of the shooting in Munich.
“Our consulate in Munich has established with the German police and the families that the three young [ethnic] Albanians [from Kosovo] lost their lives during the attack,” the ministry said in a statement.
The mayor of Munich declared Saturday a day of mourning for the victims of the shooting. Dieter Reiter said the city is “shocked and aghast at this terrible act.”
Wir alle sind entsetzt und schockiert über die schreckliche Tat am OEZ. Unsere Gedanken und unser Mitgefühl sind bei den…
In a statement in German on Facebook, Reiter expressed his condolences to the victims, their family and friends, and thanked security forces for their work.
Reiter said Saturday would be “a day of mourning, not of celebration” and that all public festivals in the city over the weekend had been canceled.
“These are difficult hours for Munich,” he said, adding that the city’s citizens had shown great solidarity toward each other. “Our city stands united.”
Police gave a “cautious all clear” in the pre-dawn hours Saturday, more than seven hours after the attack began and brought much of the city to a standstill as all public transit systems were shut down amid a massive manhunt. They said a body found near the scene was that of the shooter and he appeared to have acted alone and killed himself as he fled. Public transport later resumed normal operations, police said Saturday morning.
Andrae said the suspect’s body was found about 2 1/2 hours after the attack and was determined to be the shooter based on witness statements and closed circuit television footage of the attack. The shooter was not previously known to police and there was no evidence of any links to terrorist organizations, Andrae said.
“We can’t question the suspect so this is all a little more difficult,” he said.
The attack started shortly before 6 p.m. at a McDonald’s across the street from the mall, which was filled with people doing their weekend shopping. As dozens of shots rang out, terrified shoppers ran from the scene, some carrying babies and pushing strollers.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 23, 2016
Video obtained by The Associated Press from German news agency NonstopNews showed two bodies with sheets draped over them not far from the fast food restaurant. Another video posted online showed a gunman emerging from the door of the McDonald’s, raising what appeared to be a pistol with both hands and aiming at people on the sidewalk, firing as they fled in terror.
This was the third major act of violence against civilians in Western Europe in eight days. The previous attacks, in the French resort city of Nice and on a train in Bavaria, were claimed by the Islamic State group.