HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — A gunman stormed a service at his former Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Hamburg, killing six people before taking his own life after police arrived, authorities in the German port city said Friday.
Police gave no motive for Thursday night’s attack. But they acknowledged recently receiving an anonymous tip that claimed the man identified as the shooter showed anger toward Jehovah’s Witnesses and might be psychologically unfit to own a gun.
Eight people were wounded, including a woman who was 28 weeks pregnant and lost the baby. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the death toll could rise.
Officers apparently reached the hall, a boxy building next to an auto repair shop a few kilometers (miles) from downtown, while the attack was ongoing — and heard one more shot after they arrived, according to witnesses and authorities. They did not fire their weapons, but officials said their intervention likely prevented further loss of life.
Scholz, a former Hamburg mayor, lamented the “terrible incident in my home city.”
“We are speechless in view of this violence,” Scholz said at an event in Munich. “We are mourning those whose lives were taken so brutally.”
All of the victims were German citizens apart from two wounded women, one with Ugandan citizenship and one with Ukrainian.
Officials said the suspected gunman was a 35-year-old German national identified only as Philipp F., in line with the country’s privacy rules. Police said he had left the congregation “voluntarily, but apparently not on good terms,” about a year and a half ago.