Several people were killed or injured by gunfire during a Jehovah’s Witnesses event in Hamburg. According to media reports, six or seven people died on Thursday evening and at least eight other people were injured. Initially, neither the police nor the Hamburg interior authorities confirmed these figures. “According to initial findings, there are several dead among the victims,” ​​said a police spokesman. According to information from security circles, the Hamburg police classified the shots as an amok act.

“The dead all have gunshot wounds,” it said. The culprit may also be among the dead: “There are indications that it could be the culprit. But it’s still unclear whether it really was the culprit. That’s a bit too early to say. There are indications that it could be a perpetrator, but it’s not entirely certain.”

The police spoke of a large situation. 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. There is therefore no longer any danger to the population around the crime scene.

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.

Mayor reacts in dismay

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.

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. The hazard warning was due to be lifted just after midnight.

More reactions

Hamburg’s second mayor Katharina Fegebank was also shocked. “I am shocked by the shooting in Groß Borstel, in which several people died

The Archdiocese of Hamburg is shocked by the shots fired at an event organized by Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Several people have fallen victim to a brutal crime in Hamburg. Much is still unclear. We are shaken. We pray together,” wrote the archdiocese on Thursday evening on Twitter. It went on to say: “We are with those who are hurt and with those who have lost their lives.”

Police unit was nearby

A special riot police unit that was nearby went into the building and even heard a shot from an upper floor, the police spokesman said. One person was also found dead. “It is still unclear whether this is the perpetrator.”

What kind of event was held in the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses was initially unclear. The Jehovah’s Witnesses website scheduled one of two weekly meetings for Thursday evening. According to the information, the public is also invited. The meetings therefore deal with the Bible and how what it teaches 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.

Jehovah’s Witnesses – Background

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 rules. 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.