Hanau (Germany), February 20: A 43-year-old German man shot and killed nine people at several locations in a Frankfurt suburb overnight in attacks that appear to have been motivated by far-right beliefs, officials said Thursday.
The gunman first attacked a hookah bar in central Hanau at about 10 p.M. Wednesday, killing several people before heading about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) west and opening fire again, claiming more victims.
Witnesses and surveillance videos of the suspect’s getaway car led authorities quickly to his home, near the scene of the second attack, where he was found dead near his 72-year-old mother, said Peter Beuth, the interior minister for the state of Hesse.
A website believed to be the suspect’s is being evaluated, Beuth said.
“Initial analysis of the webpage of the suspect indicate a xenophobic motivation,” he said.
He said federal prosecutors have taken over the investigation of the crime and are treating it as an act of domestic terrorism.
“This is an attack on our free and peaceful society,” he said.
Some of the victims are believed to be Turkish, and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the consulate in Frankfurt and the embassy in Berlin were trying to obtain information on the attack.
“According to the initial information, it was an attack with a racist motive, but we would need to wait for the (official) statement,” he told state television TRT.
German news agency dpa reported that police are examining a video the suspect may have posted online several days earlier in which he details a conspiracy theory about child abuse in the United States. The authenticity of the video couldn’t immediately be verified.
On a website registered by someone with the same name as the man in the video, Tobias R., the owner says he was born in Hanau in 1977 and grew up in the city, later training with a bank and completing a business degree in 2007.
The attack comes amid growing concerns about far-right violence in Germany.
Chancellor Angela Merkel called off a planned visit Thursday to a university in Halle. (AP)