German police: 8 useless in Jehovah’s Witnesses corridor taking pictures


HAMBURG, Germany — A taking pictures at a Jehovah’s Witnesses corridor within the German metropolis of Hamburg killed eight folks, apparently together with the perpetrator, police stated Friday. An unspecified variety of different folks had been wounded, a few of them critically.

Police gave the determine on their web site. There was nonetheless no phrase on a attainable motive for the taking pictures on Thursday night that shocked Germany’s second-biggest metropolis. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a former Hamburg mayor, described the taking pictures as “a brutal act of violence.”

Police stated in the course of the night time that they imagine that there was just one shooter, and that that this might be an individual who was discovered useless within the constructing.

Investigators labored by means of the night time to safe proof. On Friday morning, forensic investigators in protecting white fits might nonetheless be seen outdoors the constructing as a lightweight snow fell. Officers positioned yellow cones on the bottom and windowsills to mark proof.

Hamburg officers stated there can be a information convention Friday afternoon to debate particulars.

David Semonian, a U.S.-based spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses, stated in an emailed assertion early Friday that members “worldwide grieve for the victims of this traumatic event.”

“The congregation elders in the local area are providing pastoral care for those affected by the event,” he wrote. “We understand that the authorities are still investigating the details of this crime. We appreciate the courageous help provided by the police and emergency services.”

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The scene of the taking pictures was the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Kingdom Hall, a boxy three-story constructing subsequent to an auto restore store within the Gross Borstel district, just a few kilometers (miles) from downtown Hamburg.

Police spokesman Holger Vehren stated police had been alerted to the taking pictures about 9:15 p.m. and had been on the scene shortly.

He stated that after officers arrived and located folks with obvious gunshot wounds on the bottom flooring, they heard a shot from an higher flooring and located a fatally wounded individual upstairs who could have been a shooter. He stated police didn’t have to make use of their firearms.

Student Laura Bauch, who lives close by, stated there have been round 4 intervals of taking pictures, German information company dpa reported. “There were always several shots in these periods, roughly at intervals of 20 seconds to a minute,” she stated.

She stated she regarded out her window and noticed an individual operating from the bottom flooring to the second flooring of the Jehovah’s Witnesses corridor.

Gregor Miesbach, who lives nearby of the constructing, was alerted by the sound of pictures and filmed a determine getting into the constructing by means of a window. Shots can then be heard from inside. The determine later apparently emerges from the corridor, is seen within the courtyard after which fires extra pictures inside.

Miesbach informed German tv information company NonstopNews that he heard at the least 25 pictures. After police arrived, one final shot adopted about 5 minutes later, he stated.

His video confirmed an individual firing a number of pictures into the constructing by means of a primary flooring window earlier than the lights contained in the room went out.

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Jehovah’s Witnesses are a part of a global church, based within the United States within the nineteenth century and headquartered in Warwick, New York. It claims a worldwide membership of about 8.7 million, with about 170,000 in Germany.

Members are identified for his or her evangelistic efforts that embody knocking on doorways and distributing literature in public squares. The denomination’s distinctive practices embody a refusal to bear arms, obtain blood transfusions, salute a nationwide flag or take part in secular authorities. ___ Moulson reported from Berlin. Associated Press journalist David Rising contributed to this story from Bangkok.

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