Jehovah’s Witness shooting: Gunman, former member of the church – Reports

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The gunman who broke into a Jehovah’s Witness service and opened fire on the worshippers is believed to have been a former member of the church.

At least six people have been confirmed dead, possibly including the gunman and a similar number are in hospital with severe injuries, after the attack on Thursday evening in Hamburg, Germany.

The city has been in a state of shock since news emerged of the killing spree in a Kingdom Hall, during a service in which about 50 people had attended.

While police are yet to confirm any details of the motives for the crimes, German media has reported that the killer was a former member of the congregation.

He is between the ages of 30 and 40 and violently broken into the building during a church service armed with a handgun, according to a report in Der Spiegel on Friday.

Police said that they started to receive emergency calls shortly after 9pm local time (10pm GMT) alerting them to gun shots in the Alsterdorf district in the north of the city.

A swat team that happened to be in the area arrived at the scene shortly afterwards and kicked down the door, local press report.

The first officers to arrive at a scene of chaos with several dead bodies lying on the floor. When the officers were already inside the building they were reported to have heard a final shot.

In a room upstairs they found a further lifeless body. It is believed that this is the body of the suspected killer, although police have yet to confirm this detail.

Mass shootings are a rarity in Germany, although attacks on religious centres have increased in recent years.

In 2019, a heavily armed far-right fanatic attempted to break into a synagogue in the eastern town of Halle during the religious holiday of Yom Kippur.

Although he was unable to break through the locked door, he shot and killed two people outside.

The deadliest gun rampage to hit the country in recent years occurred in the small town of Hanu near Frankfurt in 2020, where a far-right extremist caused a massacre at two shisha bars, where he shot and killed eleven people.

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