Shots on Jehovah’s Witnesses: What is known so far


Status: 03/10/2023 11:10 a.m

The background to the deadly shots in Hamburg-Alsterdorf are still largely unclear. Little information has been officially confirmed so far. An overview of what is known about the crime.

What is known about the course of events?

The crime happened on Thursday evening in the Hamburg district of Alsterdorf during or directly after a meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The event started at around 7 p.m. in the so-called Kingdom Hall. This is what the community calls the buildings in which they hold their worship meetings.

The police said they were informed at 9:15 p.m. that shots had been fired in the building.

NDR reports According to a video recorded by an eyewitness with a smartphone, it is assumed that the perpetrator entered the house through a broken window and then shot at those present. Neighbors reported “repeated volleys of fire.”

The police moved out in large numbers, helicopters and the special unit of the Hamburg police USE were also deployed. According to a police spokesman, the officers at the scene heard a shot from one of the upper floors of the building – the possible shooter had probably killed himself when the emergency services arrived.

The roads around the crime scene remained closed until early Friday morning. The securing of evidence also continued the day after the alleged killing spree.

The population was warned on Thursday evening shortly after the shots by an official danger announcement. It spoke of an “extreme danger”. Shortly after 3 a.m., the Federal Office for Civil Protection lifted the danger warning.

How many victims are there?

According to the police, the gunman killed seven people and then shot himself. Several people are said to have been injured, some seriously. Details of the victims of the killing spree are not yet known. On Friday morning, the media initially reported at least six fatalities.

Who is the alleged perpetrator?

No information about the suspected shooter has been released officially.

As the “Spiegel” reports, it is said to have been a former member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Accordingly, the suspect is a 35-year-old man who claims to have grown up in a strictly evangelical household in Kempten in the Allgäu. He completed a bank apprenticeship and then studied business administration, the magazine further refers to information provided by the alleged suspect. On the Internet, the man offered work as a consultant in areas ranging from “controlling” to “theology”. Also NDR reporter Heiko Sander reported the suspect was between 30 and 40 years old. None of this information was confirmed by the police or by the Hamburg authorities.

According to the dpa news agency, the suspected shooter was not known to the police as an extremist. His name was recorded in the databases of security authorities, but without a criminal background, but because the suspect is said to have applied for a gun permit.

How are the investigations progressing?

The police are currently concentrating on securing evidence at the crime scene and looking for witnesses who can provide information about the crime.

On the Internet, the police have for that too set up a portalthrough which notices can be submitted.

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