, MUNICH, Germany, Jul 23 – A teenage German-Iranian gunman who killed nine people in a shooting rampage at a busy Munich mall and then committed suicide had likely acted alone, German police said Saturday.
The third attack on civilians in Europe in barely a week sent panicked shoppers fleeing the Olympia mall as elite police launched a massive operation to track down what had initially been thought to be up to three assailants.
- Europe has been on alert for terrorism in the wake of a string of attacks in neighbouring France and Belgium claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group
- The Mall shooting occurred just eight days after 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel used a truck to mow down 84 people, including children, in the French Riviera city of Nice
- It was the third major attack on French soil in the past 18 months
“The perpetrator was an 18-year-old German-Iranian from Munich,” police chief Hubertus Andrae told reporters after the rampage.
The shooter had dual citizenship and “no criminal record”.
“The motive or explanation for this crime is completely unclear,” he added.
However, a police spokesman in the Bavarian capital had said earlier that terrorism was suspected, without revealing any immediate indications of an Islamist link.
Armed with a handgun, the attacker opened fire at a McDonald’s restaurant early Friday evening and continued in the street before entering the Olympia mall, killing nine people and wounding 16 in his rampage, according to the latest toll.
“There were youths among the dead,” Andrae said, adding that some of those injured were children.
A police patrol had shot and wounded the attacker but he had managed to escape, he said.
The suspected attacker’s body was later found about one kilometre (0.6 miles) from the mall where the shootings took place, German DPA news agency reported.
“We found a man who killed himself. We assume that he was the only shooter,” police said on Twitter.
A video posted on social media appeared to show a man dressed in black walking away from a McDonald’s while firing repeatedly on people as they fled screaming.
Munich’s main train station was evacuated and metro and bus transport in the city suspended for several hours while residents were ordered to stay inside, leaving the streets largely deserted.
By early Saturday, transport services were running again, Munich police said.