Update 6:15 PM PST: The chief of police in Munich has confirmed that the suspect of the mall massacre was killed in a confrontation with police. 10 people are reported dead, including the suspect. The man responsible for the shooting attack was an 18-year-old German-Iranian.
"The perpetrator was an 18-year-old German-Iranian from Munich," stated police chief Hubertus Andrae. "The motive or explanation for this crime is completely unclear."
The suspect's body was found about two and a half hours after the shooting spree began, according to Sky News. Witnesses identified the suspect's body for police. After police initially suggested that multiple perpetrators may have been involved in the incident, they are now reasonably convinced that this was a lone-wolf attack conducted by a single gunman.
Update 11:45 AM PST: A Munich police spokesman says "terror attack is suspected." This the first official indication that the attack may be terror-related. Authorities have declared a city-wide emergency using Munich's smartphone warning system.
Update 11:41 AM PST: The US State Department issues a message to Americans in Munich:
US citizens in #Munich: contact your loved ones directly or use social media to let them know you are safe when possible.— Travel - State Dept (@TravelGov) July 22, 2016
Update 11:28 AM PST: Munich police are reportedly searching for 3 gunmen. Although they don't quite know how many attackers were involved --- a gap in intelligence that is concerning many security officials. All the gunmen are still on-the-run as German officials ask civilians to remain indoors.
#Munich police: up to 3 gunmen thought to be on the loose after gun attack on shopping mall— Frank Gardner (@FrankRGardner) July 22, 2016
Update 11:18 AM PST: Munich is in de-facto lockdown. Officials have warned people against visiting public sites. Now the central train station in Munich is being shut down. Police are evacuating transportation centers and commuter stations out of precaution. The shooter (or shooters) is still on the run.
BREAKING NEWS: MAIN TRAIN STATION IN MUNICH, GERMANY BEING EVACUATED RIGHT NOW.— Breaking News Feed (@pzf) July 22, 2016
On Friday, a mass shooting (possible terror attack) occurred at the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum shopping mall in Munich, one of Germany’s largest malls. The situation remains active and details are still emerging. But here’s what we know so far:
1. Multiple deaths have been confirmed by police. Although initial reports only confirmed one death, local German media are now suggesting that up to 15 people have been killed in the rampage. Muencher Abendzeitun puts the death toll at 15. NTV channel says it’s currently at 10.
2. The shooter (or shooters) is still at-large. German police initially told people to stay away from the shopping center. Now they’re telling people to stay away from all public sites in Munich. It’s a de facto lock-down of the city. The situation is not yet contained. RT is reporting that “an assailant has shot people in a cafe located in the shopping center and at a railway station.” The incidents may be linked.
3. Police haven’t identified the suspect (or suspects) yet although many are speculating that the attack is connected to Islamic terrorism. The shooting spree comes just days after a 17-year-old Afghan Muslim refugee in Bavaria took an ax and began hacking commuters in a train. Under the direction of Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany has allowed more refugees across its borders than nearly any other country in Europe. After the mass sexual assault crisis in Cologne, the beleaguered German leader saw her poll numbers begin to dip dramatically, forcing her to reconsider the country’s liberal asylum policies. The events in Cologne were followed by a series of refugee-related crimes, ranging from sexual assault to theft to terrorism. Blinded to growing anxieties and fears permeating the political landscape, German authorities have attempted to lecture the public about the virtues of multiculturalism, while downplaying and even hiding the Islamo-Arab background of unassimilated refugee attackers. Exploiting the cultural trauma, far-right populist parties with acutely xenophobic views have filled the void and gained traction among a growing number of people rightly worried about the safety of their children. 800 Germans have traveled to Syria in the last few months, according to CNN’s Paul Cruickshank. Nearly a third of them are thought to have returned to Germany. In fact, ISIS has repeatedly boasted about its sleeper cells in major German cities like Munich and Germany.
4. There may be several shooters targeting civilians. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen mostly lone-wolf style, ISIS-inspired attacks carried out by single young Muslim men. We saw this in Nice when a Tunisian man mowed over dozens of people with a truck along a beach promenade. However, today’s attack in Munich may be different.
Reports are circulating that there are several shooters at different locations in #Munich, with an unknown number with the dead and injured— RANsquawk (@RANsquawk) July 22, 2016
These reports are not yet confirmed. If true however, then the scale of the attack may rival that of the 2015 Paris attack when multiple gunmen struck multiple targets in a coordinated attack against the city.
5. The attack may have started at a McDonald’s (raising questions about the deliberate targeting of an American company) by the shopping mall. Eyewitnesses report that the attacker began shooting people indiscriminately with a rapid-fire handgun. He may have been wearing tactical gear or a bullet proof vest. Guns are very difficult to acquire in Germany. The shooter (or shooters likely) had to go through immense trouble to acquire a weapon, especially a rapid-fire weapon. However, in recent months jihadists have been finding it easier to obtain the resources needed to carry out large-scale attacks. Criminal groups and gangs from the Balkans have reportedly been supplying weapons to the influx of jihadists flooding Europe.