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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Amok run in Hamburg with several dead and injured

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Patrol cars had cordoned off the crime scene extensively in the evening.
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The perpetrator may be dead, but the Hamburg police classify his act as a rampage, according to information from security circles.

Initially, neither the police nor the Hamburg interior authorities commented on the number of deaths. “According to initial findings, there are several dead among the victims,” ​​said a police spokesman. “The dead all have gunshot wounds,” it said. The perpetrator may also be among the dead: “There are indications that it could be the perpetrator. But it is still unclear whether it really was the perpetrator.”

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A neighbor reported several shots at the Jehovah’s Witnesses event. “There were about four shot periods. During these periods, several shots were always fired, approximately 20 seconds to one minute apart,” reported student Lara Bauch late Thursday evening. “I then looked further out the window and saw a person running frantically from the ground floor to the first floor at the Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Later, people were carried onto the street by police officers on their hands and feet. Four hours after the fatal shots, the forensics team finally entered the crime scene at night.

According to the investigators, the background to the shots in the Alsterdorf district was initially unclear. There is no indication of another or a fugitive perpetrator: “At the moment the situation is calm,” said a police spokesman late in the evening.

“Extreme Danger”

Patrol cars with blue lights had cordoned off the crime scene in the evening. Officers with submachine guns also secured the area. Immediately after the shots, all the windows of the building were brightly lit, a helicopter was in the air, numerous ambulances were parked in the streets.

An official hazard announcement by the Hamburg Interior Ministry spoke of an “extreme danger”. “Around 9:00 p.m. today, one or more unknown perpetrators shot people in a church,” the text said. The police were informed by telephone about the shots at around 9:15 p.m.

Hamburg’s Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) was dismayed by the shots during an event of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The reports from Alsterdorf / Groß Borstel are shocking,” wrote Tschentscher on Twitter. “My deepest sympathy goes to the relatives of the victims. The emergency services are working flat out to track down the perpetrators and clarify the background.” Tschentscher called on citizens to heed the police’s instructions.

Type of event unclear

What kind of event was held in the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses was initially unclear. One of two weekly meetings was announced on the Jehovah’s Witnesses website for Thursday evening. According to the information, the public is also invited. The meetings, therefore, study the Bible and how its teachings can be applied in life. According to the police, several people attended the event: “Several people were in the building during the event,” said a spokesman.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a Christian community with their own interpretation of the Bible. The followers believe in Jehovah as “almighty God and Creator” and are said to submit to strict regulations. They are convinced that a new world is at hand and that they will be saved as a chosen church. Jehovah’s Witnesses have around eight million members worldwide. The “world headquarters” is in New York. The German community, with fewer than 200,000 members, is one of the largest in Europe.

The crime scene is a three-story commercial building located on a wide street and next to a painting company and a construction site with three large cranes. Around 15,000 people live in Hamburg-Alsterdorf, the district in the Hamburg-Nord district is around three square kilometers in size. In addition to Alsterdorf, there are twelve other districts in the district. Numerous companies are based in Hamburg-Alsterdorf. The Alster River runs through the district.

Source: Nachrichten

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