Deaths reported after shooting at Jehovah’s Witness hall in Germany

Deaths were reported Thursday after shots were fired at a building used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in Hamburg, Germany, police said.

Authorities said several people were injured, some fatally, in a shooting at a building on Deelböge Street. Police have not released the number of dead and injured.

“We only know that several people died here; several people are wounded, they were taken to hospitals,” police spokesman Holger Vehren said, according to The Associated Press.

Hamburg police said early Friday that they assume there was one perpetrator. Earlier, police tweeted that a person who could be a perpetrator may be dead.

“We have found a lifeless person in a community center in #GroßBorstel, which we assume could be a perpetrator,” Hamburg police tweeted early Friday.

Later, police tweeted that they were gradually reducing measures taken after the shooting, and an investigation was ongoing.

Vehren said police arrived shortly after they were notified about the shooting at 9:15 p.m. and heard a gunshot from the upstairs area of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Kingdom Hall, the AP reported.

A police officer responds to a crime scene in Hamburg, Germany, on March 9, 2023.
A police officer responds to a crime scene in Hamburg, Germany, on Thursday.Jonas Walzberg / dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

Authorities initially tweeted that there was a large police response in the city’s Alsterdorf district and that officials were still working at the scene.

“So far, there is no reliable information on the motive for the crime,” police tweeted then, and they asked people not to spread rumors.

Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher tweeted that the police reports were “shocking” and that authorities were working to track down the perpetrator.

“My deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” Tschentscher said.

An alert was sent out through the German KATWARN system, saying the shooting happened around 9 p.m. local time.

It urged people to avoid the area as authorities blocked off the area.

Alsterdorf is about 7 miles from downtown Hamburg, Germany’s second-largest city. Hamburg’s metropolitan region is home to more than 5 million people, according to the Council of Europe.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are a Christian denomination founded in the United States in 1872. They claim more than 8 million witnesses worldwide.

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