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Motive unclear as gunman kills seven at Jehovah’s Witness meeting in Hamburg

10 March 2023

Alamy

Police and emergency services outside the Jehovah’s Witness meeting hall in Hamburg on Thursday night

Police and emergency services outside the Jehovah’s Witness meeting hall in Hamburg on Thursday night

SEVEN people have been killed in a shooting at a Jehovah’s Witness kingdom hall in Hamburg on Thursday evening, German police report.

Several more were injured, and the gunman is reported to be among the fatalities, BBC News reports. The motive for the attack is unclear, but, at a police briefing, it was said that the suspect, named only as “Philip F”, aged 35, was a former member of the religious community and had “ill feelings” towards it.

Police were called shortly after 9 p.m. local time after reports of gunshots in the Gross Borstel district in the north of Hamburg. A local resident, speaking to the German newspaper Bild, witnessed part of the attack, seeing a man fire several rounds through the window of the meeting hall.

A police spokesman, Holger Vehren, said that when the police arrived they found people who “may have been seriously injured by firearms, some of them fatally”.

They also heard a gunshot from the upper part of the building, where another dead body was subsequently discovered. “So far, we have no indications that any perpetrators fled,” Mr Vehren said, suggesting that the final fatality was the gunman himself.

BBC News quote a statement from the Jehovah’s Witness community in Germany, saying that it was “deeply saddened by the horrific attack on its members at the Kingdom Hall in Hamburg after a religious service”.

On Friday morning, the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, described the attack as a “brutal act of violence”, and said that his thoughts were with the victims and their families.

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