(HANAU, Germany) — A mass shooting in Germany that left 11 people dead, including the suspected gunman, appears to have been motivated by racist, right-wing extremist views, authorities said.
The massacre in the Frankfurt suburb of Hanau erupted around 10 p.m. Wednesday at two hookah bars in the city of fewer than 100,000 people.
“Racism is poison, hatred is poison and this poison exists in society and it is to blame for far too many crimes,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday morning. “There are many indications at the moment that the perpetrator acted on right-wing extremist, racist motives, out of hatred towards people of other origins, religions and appearance.”
The mass shooting follows a series of right-right extremist attacks in Germany, including one in October at a synagogue in Halle that left two people dead and the June assassination of pro-migrant politician Walter Lubcke by a suspect with right-wing links who confessed to the murder.
The killing rampage on Wednesday in Hanau was carried out by 43-year-old man authorities would only identify as Tobias R.
German federal prosecutors said Thursday that they are taking charge of the investigation.
Investigators are examining a video the suspect posted online in which he allegedly expressed right-wing conspiracy theories, German Public Prosecutor General Peter Frank said at a news conference, along with writings.
“In addition to confused thoughts and conspiracy theories, [the video and writing] shows deeply racist attitudes,” Frank said. “That is why I have taken over the investigation in this case.”
Authorities cautioned that investigators have not established a clear link between the online videos and Wednesday’s attack.
While German police said they believe the deceased suspect is the lone person responsible, federal investigators are looking into whether the suspect received support in the attack, adding that they are attempting to clarify the alleged gunman’s background and contacts both in Germany and abroad.
Shots were fired at two separate hookah bars in Hanau, according to a statement from local authorities. The city is located about 15 miles east of Frankfurt.
Kemal Aydin, Turkey’s ambassador to Berlin, told reporters that five Turkish nationals were among those killed.
The alleged perpetrator was later found dead at his home. It was there that police said they found another dead body, officials said.
Nine others died after incidents at the Kurt-Schumacher-Platz and Heumarkt areas.
Witness accounts said a vehicle fled the scene of the shootings, which led authorities to the alleged suspect’s home.
The shooting comes less than three years after an 18-year-old gunman killed nine people at a shopping mall in Munich before taking his own life. Bavarian authorities said the July 2016 attack was “politically motivated” and said the teenage suspect had “radical right-wing and racist views.”
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