An argument in front of a shisha bar is followed by fatal shots: In the north-east of Hamburg, a 24-year-old man was killed with several shots by unknown assailants. Shortly after the crime, the police arrested four men, but they have since been released.

“The four suspects were temporarily released from police custody for legal reasons,” senior public prosecutor Liddy Oechtering told the German Press Agency on Tuesday.

According to police, emergency services stopped a suspected getaway vehicle in the nearby area immediately after the shots and arrested the four occupants. Oechtering said they now believe at least a second car fled the scene. “We are currently following the first concrete leads here.” Several witnesses heard the shots on Sunday around 10:30 p.m. in the Poppenbüttel district and called the emergency number.

Resuscitation after shots failed

First responders tried in vain to resuscitate the victim. The 24-year-old died from his injuries at the scene. The crisis intervention team of the German Red Cross took over the acute psychosocial care of the victim’s family members, friends and first aiders.

According to initial findings, the shooting in front of the shisha bar was preceded by an argument between several men. The police and public prosecutor’s office initially did not provide any further information on Tuesday about the background and course of the crime.

The murder commission of the State Criminal Police Office and the capital offenses department of the Hamburg public prosecutor’s office are now investigating the case. We are also looking for witnesses who observed the crime or who can provide relevant information. The investigators are particularly hoping for valuable statements from guests at the shisha bar.

Forensics and forensic science examined the crime scene on Monday night. At least eight cartridge cases are said to have been found.

Similar cases in the past

Recently there have been repeated attacks in Hamburg that could be related to drug-related crime. “At the moment the violence has increased, clearly,” said Horst Niens, chairman of the Hamburg police union. “Basically, we have rival groups and perpetrator groups around the drug trade. We are in the area where we are moving towards organized crime.”

In July 2022, a 27-year-old was deliberately shot by two men in a shisha bar in Hamburg-Hohenfelde. The trial against a suspect is currently underway before the Hamburg regional court. The defendant has so far protested his innocence.

In September 2022, two men shot a 37-year-old in the head in Hamburg-Veddel. The victim is believed to have been involved in drug dealing. The ZDF program “Aktenzeichen XY… Unsolved” was also searched for information about the perpetrators.

In January 2023, two men sitting in a car were shot in Hamburg-Tonndorf. The driver’s side window and door alone had more than 20 bullet holes. The 26-year-old driver was critically injured in the attack.

Notice from the police