Church shooting in Germany leaves several dead, wounded


Shots were fired inside a building used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in the northern German city of Hamburg on Thursday evening, killing or wounding several people, police said.

The shooting took place in the Grosse Borsthal district, a few kilometers north of the downtown area of ​​Germany’s second largest city.

“All we know is that several people died; several people were injured, they were taken to the hospital,” police spokesman Holger Wehren said.

He said that he has no information about the severity of the injuries of the injured.

The scene of the shooting was the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a modern and boxy three-story building next door to an auto repair shop.

Police were alerted to the shooting at 9.15pm local time and rushed to the scene, Wehren said.

He said when officers arrived and found people with apparent gunshot wounds on the ground floor, they heard gunshots from upstairs and found a fatally wounded man upstairs who may have been the shooter. He said that the police do not need to use their weapons.

Wehren said there was no indication that the shooter was on the run and that the suspect was either in the building or among the dead.

Two witnesses interviewed on N-TV television, who were not named, said they heard 12 shots.

At the time of the shooting, the police had no idea what was going on in the building.

They also had no immediate information about a possible motive. “The background is still completely unclear,” Viren said.

Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschencher tweeted that the news was “shocking” and offered his condolences to the victims’ relatives.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are part of an international church founded in the United States in the 19th century and headquartered in Warwick, New York. It claims a worldwide membership of about 8.7 million, with about 170,000 in Germany.

Members are known for their evangelistic efforts that include knocking on doors and distributing literature in public squares. Specific practices of the sect include refusing to bear arms, donate blood, salute the national flag or participate in secular government.

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