Shooter likely not involved with ISIS or any other extremist group
MUNICH – An 18-year-old German-Iranian gunman who apparently acted alone opened fire near a busy shopping mall in Munich on Friday evening, killing at least nine people in the third attack on civilians in Western Europe in eight days.
As authorities sought to piece together the circumstances of an attack behind which they had found no immediate evidence of an Islamist motive, Munich police said. German investigators continue to explore all possible leads in the case.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet her chief of staff Peter Altmaier, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and intelligence officials on Saturday to review the incident. She will make a statement at 1230 GMT, her office said.
The pistol-wielding attacker, identified by Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae as a dual national from Munich, was later found dead of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Authorities said it was too early to say whether it was a terrorist attack but that the shooter was believed to have staged the attack alone, opening fire in a fast food restaurant before moving to the mall.
In addition to determining the motive, police will have to find out how the 18-year-old got the firearm used in the attack in a country whose gun control system is described by the U.S. Congress Library as being “among the most stringent in Europe.”
Although police had engaged in a shootout with the Munich gunman, an autopsy indicated he had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police officials told a press conference in Munich on Saturday.
No suicide note had been found in the attacker’s home, nor was there any reference to religion found in the documents recovered by investigators, officials said.
The attacker’s parents were in too much of a state of shock to help police in their investigations, officials said. Police also revealed that the attacker had been a victim of “bodily harm” in an incident that involved other young people in 2012.
The gunman, whose body was found on a side street near the mall, was not identified but Andrae said he was not previously known to police.
Police commandos, armed with night vision equipment and dogs, raided an apartment in the Munich neighborhood of Maxvorstadt early on Saturday where the German newspaper Bild said the gunman lived with his parents.
“I am shocked, what happened to the boy? Only God knows what happened,” Telfije Dalpi, a 40-year-old Macedonian neighbor of the family told Reuters. “I have no idea what happened – but he was a good human being. I have no idea if he did anything bad elsewhere.”
There was a huge police presence in the street, which lies just north of Munich’s old city.
Andrae said authorities saw no links to an attack in southern Germany last Monday in which an axe-wielding 17-year-old asylum-seeker injured five people in an incident claimed by the Islamic State group.
Quotes used in this story came from Reuters and Associated Press. Video courtesy of the BBC.