Suspect found dead after nine killed in German hookah lounge shootings
HANAU, Germany — A man suspected of fatally shooting nine people in the German city of Hanau was found dead at his home early Thursday, hours after the attacks in and outside two hookah lounges, police said.
Officers also found another body at the same address, police said.
Police gave no details of the suspected gunman but said “there are currently no indications of further perpetrators.” They did not give details of his possible motive or how he died, or specify why they believe “with a high degree of probability” that he was the assailant.
The number of dead in the shootings Wednesday evening rose to nine, a police statement said.
German news agency dpa reported, citing unnamed security officials, that a written claim of responsibility and a video were found and are being examined by police.
Henry Faltin, a spokesman for police in southeastern Hesse state, where Hanau is located, declined to comment on the dpa report, or a report by daily Bild that ammunition was also found in the suspect’s vehicle.
Officers sealed off and searched the apartment in Hanau’s Kesselstadt district, near the scene of one of the shootings, after following up witness statements on a getaway car. Police said work to confirm the identities of the two bodies at the home was still underway, and they couldn’t immediately give details either on them or the identities of the victims of the earlier shootings.
“Thoughts this morning are with the people of Hanau, in whose midst this terrible crime was committed,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said on Twitter.
“Deep sympathy for the affected families, who are grieving for their dead,” the spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said. “We hope with those wounded that they will soon recover.”
Earlier Thursday, police said that eight people were killed and around five wounded. They said a dark vehicle was seen leaving the location of the first attack and another shooting was reported at a scene about 2 1/2 kilometers (1 1/2 miles) away.
Police officers swarmed central Hanau, cordoning off the area of one of the shootings as a helicopter hovered overhead. A car covered in thermal foil also could be seen, with shattered glass next to it. Forensic experts in white overalls collected evidence.
Hookah lounges are places where people gather to smoke flavored tobacco from Middle Eastern water pipes.
“This was a terrible evening that will certainly occupy us for a long, long time and we will remember with sadness,” Hanau Mayor Claus Kaminsky told the Bild newspaper. Lawmaker Katja Leikert, a member of Merkel’s center-right party who represents Hanau in the German parliament, tweeted that it was “a real horror scenario for us all.”
Hanau is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of Frankfurt. It has about 100,000 inhabitants and is in Hesse state.
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