‘Deranged’ man opens fire in Munich; No Terror angle

RSTV Bureau
Munich : Heavily armed police forces operate at Karlsplatz (Stachus) square after a shooting in the Olympia shopping centre was reported in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016. Photo - PTI/AP

Munich : Heavily armed police forces operate at Karlsplatz (Stachus) square after a shooting in the Olympia shopping centre was reported in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016.
Photo – PTI/AP

Nine people were killed in a busy Munich mall after a ‘deranged’ man went on a shooting rampage Friday evening. The 18-year-old gunman of German-Iranian origin also committed suicide as the police force narrowed him down in counter-attack. Ruling out any terror angle to the incident, the German police said, so far they have no evidence that a teenage gunman had any links to the terror syndicate Islamic State and described the attack as “a classic act by a deranged person”.

“There is absolutely no link to the Islamic State,” Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae said, adding that the suspect had been obsessed with books and articles about mass killings “linked to maniacs”.

The Munich prosecutor also said the suspect — whose name has been withheld for the time being – had suffered depression and reportedly undergone psychiatric treatment.

Initially the authorities have thought that three gunmen were involved in the attack, but later the police confirmed that the 18-year-old assailant acted alone.

“The perpetrator was an 18-year-old German-Iranian from Munich,” police chief Hubertus Andrae had told reporters earlier, adding the shooter had dual citizenship and had “no criminal record”.

This is the third attack on civilians in Europe in barely a week following attacks in Nice, which left 82 people dead, and an incident in German town of Wurzburg where a teenage asylum seeker went on a rampage with an axe and a knife on a train.

The Friday night attack saw panicked shoppers fleeing the Olympia mall as the attacker, armed with handgun, opened fire at a McDonald’s restaurant in the street before entering the busy mall. Besides ten people, 21 were left wounded in a rampage, according to the latest toll.

Launching its operation, Germany’s elite police patrol had shot and wounded the attacker but he managed to flee resulting in a long operation. The suspected attacker’s body was later found about one kilometre 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,” German state police apprised the press.

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. But by early Saturday morning, transport services were running again, Munich police said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack in Munich, terming it “horrific”.

“We are appalled by the horrific incident in Munich. Our thoughts & prayers are with the families of the deceased & those injured,” he said in a tweet.

There are no Indian casualty reported in the attack, confirmed Union External Affairs ministry.

“I have spoken to Ambassador Gurjit Singh our Ambassador in Germany. He has informed me that there is no Indian casualty in the Munich attack,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

(With inputs from the PTI)