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It was the third major act of violence against civilians in Europe in eight days. Previous attacks in France and Germany were claimed by Islamic State.
At first it was believed there were three shooters, but later police said there was only one.
The shooter was identified as an 18-year-old German/Iranian who was living in Munich. Police found his body 2½ hours after the attack, a half mile from the site. Police said he apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
He had lived with his parents an apartment in the Munich neighborhood of Maxvorstadt. Police raided the apartment Saturday morning. Police said they had no previous contact with the shooter.
Munich had shut down its subway system, bus and railways and advised residents to remain in their homes as the incident hours later is still believed active. The area was given a “cautious all clear” more than seven hours after the shooting.
The gunman was reported to have yelled “fucking foreigners” and/or “bloody foreigners.” Others quoted him as saying “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) and “I’m German.”
The Munich police chief called the “motive unclear” but said that terrorism was being considered. While not claiming responsibility for the action, an Islamic state source praised the shooting on line.
In response to the killings, Great Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who was at the United Nations in New York for the first time, noted, “If as seems very likely this is another terrorist incident, then I think it proves once again that we have a global phenomenon now, and a global sickness that we have to tackle both at source — areas where the cancer is being incubated in the Middle East, and also of course around the world.” He also offered condolences to the victims’ families and to the people of Munich and more widely Germany.
U.S. President Barrack Obama described the news as shocking and said Germany is one of our closest allies. The President pledged all the support that Germany may need. He added that this is a good reminder that our way of life, freedom and ability to go about our business depends on the men and women in uniform every single day. Obama was meeting in a conference with police at the time.
When asked if the shooting could have been prevented, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Peter Altmaier said, “You can only have absolute security in an absolute surveillance state, and nobody wants that, it would be the opposite of our free western European way of life.”
— H.E. and C.L.