Hamburg, a city in Germany witnessed scenes of violence as a gunman opened fire at a Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall.
By the time the police arrived at the spot, several were found dead and injured. The police released and official statement that said 8 people were found dead and that the motive behind the attack is yet to be analyzed.
The police stated that they believe there was only one attacker involved and that he acted on his own. Investigation is going on to find out if the gunman was one of the dead found at the church hall as there is no indication that he is on the run.
Warning messages were sent out to the residents living around the area which advised them to stay indoors as there is a threat to life outside. Other precautions were taken to seal off near by places and roads.
According to Gregor Miesbach, who lives nearby the building where the incident occurred, he heard bullets and saw someone enter the structure through a window. Afterwards, according to him, bullets could be heard inside. Miesbach reported hearing at least 25 gunshots to the German television news source Nonstop News. Another witness claims to have heard four rounds of shooting and also saw a person running from the ground floor to the top.
Peter Tschentscher, mayor of Hamburg expressed his shock and deepest sympathies for the affected, on Twitter. Olaf Scholz, the chancellor of Germany, conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims of the shooting.
Attacks in the past few years –
In the recent years, Germany has witnessed many such unfortunate incidents.
A truck rampage at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that resulted in the deaths of 12 people was one of the bloodiest acts. The Tunisian attacker, an unsuccessful asylum applicant, supported the IS/ISIL organization.
On the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur in October 2019, a shooter opened fire outside a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle, killing two people.
In February 2020, a shooter with alleged far-right ties killed nine people, including Turks, before taking his own life and that of his mother in the town of Hanau.
And most recently in 2022, at Heidelberg University in southwest Germany, a man opened fire on students in a lecture hall, killing at least one person in the process.
Gun laws in Germany –
The German Weapons Act, which complies to the European Firearms Directive controls how weapons are handled, as well as how they are purchased, stored, traded, and maintained.
Despite the fact that many people own guns, the use of firearms for individual self-defence is prohibited. Whereas historical firearms used for shooting clubs, shooting ranges, and festivals are all legal.
According to German weapons expert Holger Soschinka, Germany has one of the most stringent weapon laws in the world yet critics argue that the law places the rights of people to life and physical integrity below the interests of sport shooters.