Police Say Gunman Acted Alone And Killed Himself


MUNICH (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) — Munich police gave a “cautious all clear” early Saturday morning local time, more than seven hours after a gunman opened fire in a crowded shopping mall and at a nearby McDonald’s killing nine people and wounding 16 others in a rampage authorities called an act of terrorism.

A body found near the scene was that of the shooter and he appeared to have acted alone, officials said.

Witnesses had reported seeing three men with firearms near the Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall, but police said on Twitter that “as part of our manhunt we found a person who had killed himself – the person is likely to have been the attacker who, according to the current state of the investigation, acted alone.”

They lifted a shutdown of all public transport in the Bavarian capital, and said more details would be disclosed at a press conference later in the morning.

Munich police Chief Hubertus Andrae said the suspect was 18-year-old German-Iranian from Munich. The suspect had not been identified late Friday New York time.

Andrae said at a news conference that the attacker’s motive was still “fully unclear.”

He said that the body of the shooter, who killed himself, was found about 2 1/2 hours after the attack was determined to be the shooter based on the evaluation of witness statements and closed circuit television.

The police chief also said the victims wounded in the attack included youths and children.

Police called the mall shooting “suspected terrorism” in a statement but did not elaborate on who might have been behind it. In Washington, the White House condemned what it called an “apparent terrorist attack.”

Witness video showed the gunman, dressed in black, shouting about foreigners and ranting on a rooftop.

It was the third major act of violence against civilians in Western Europe in eight days. The previous attacks, in the French resort city of Nice and on a train in Bavaria, were claimed by the Islamic State group. Germany’s elite GSG9 anti-terror police, as well as federal police, were called in to help.

While police called the mall shooting an act of terrorism, they said they had “no indication” it involved Islamic extremism and at least one witness said he heard a shooter shout an anti-foreigner slur.

The attack started shortly before 6 p.m. at a McDonald’s across the street from the mall, which was filled with people doing their weekend shopping. The site is not far from the city’s Olympic Stadium in the Moosach district of the Bavarian capital.

As dozens of shots rang out, terrified shoppers ran from the scene, some carrying babies and pushing strollers, as CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported.

An American woman from Kentucky who was on vacation with her husband in Munich described hearing the shots.

“It was enough panic for all of us to start diving under tables and trying to run – you know, everyone around us,” she said. “Benches were being knocked down, tables were knocked over.”

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Police in tactical gear ran toward the mall — as people carrying shopping bags, pushing strollers, even wheelchairs hurried away. Lines of police vans with flashing lights were seen outside the mall, and police helicopters flew overhead.

With guns drawn, German authorities searched for killers. Witnesses told police they saw three people with weapons.

Shots were initially fired at a McDonald’s attached to the mall, but police said there may be a second shooting location.

A witness said children who had just sat down to eat are among the dead.

“He was still killing the children,” a witness said. “They were sitting to eat. They can’t run.”

Peter Altmaier, chief of staff to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said numerous attacks had been prevented in Germany in recent years “but, and this is important, there can never be absolute security.”

PHOTOS: Munich Shootings

With earlier reports that a gunman had gotten away underground, public transportation was shut down. The Munich metro stations were eerie with emptiness.

Police also asked people to stay in their homes and avoid crowded places.

Footage on social media showed a man pull out a pistol on a street corner and open fire on pedestrians nearby. Another graphic image shows a bloody scene inside the mall with people appearing to treat a victim. Shattered glass from an escalator can also be seen, along with pools of blood.

Witness Luan Zequiri said he was at the scene when the shooting broke out.

He told the Germany broadcaster n-tv that he heard the attacker yell an anti-foreigner slur and “there was a really loud scream.”

He said he saw only one attacker, who was wearing boots and a backpack.

“I looked in his direction and he shot two people on the stairs,” Zequiri said.

He said he hid in a shop, then ran outside when the coast was clear and saw bodies of the dead and wounded on the ground.

Another witness described the gunman and the scene.

“She actually saw the person she said he was dressed in black and had a mask and had a big gun, and there was an escalator and people running up and down and he would fire shots at them,” a witness said.

The city of Munich sent a smartphone alert telling people to stay indoors and German rail company Deutsche Bahn stopped train traffic to Munich’s main station.

Meanwhile, Facebook launched its “safety check” feature for users to let their friends know whether they’re OK.

Bayrischer Rundfunk reported that shops in the center of Munich had closed with customers inside, though police said reports of shots fired at a location downtown had been a false alarm.

President Barack Obama said the United States was prepared to support German authorities following the shooting attack.

“Our hearts go out to those who may have been injured,” President Barack Obama said. “Germany is one of our closest allies so we’re going to pledge all the support they need under the circumstances.”

Obama added that the attack is a reminder that “our way of life, our freedoms, our ability to go about our business every day, raising our kids, and seeing them grow up… depends on law enforcement.”

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called the situation “horrific,” adding “We stand with our friends in Germany as they work to bring those responsible to justice.”

Republican nominee Donald Trump issued a tweet mourning the attack.

Meanwhile, the NYPD said in statement that it was monitoring developments following the attack, and noted that “as of now, there are no specific credible threats to New York City.”

On Long Island, Nassau County police have stepped up patrols in all shopping malls, mass transit areas, and public gathering places, as well as near critical infrastructure.

It was the second attack in Germany in less than a week. On Monday, a 17-year-old Afghan wounded four people in an axe-and-knife attack on a regional train near the Bavarian city of Würzburg, and another woman outside as he fled. All survived, although one man from the train remains in life-threatening condition. The attacker was shot and killed by police.

The Islamic State group, or ISIS, claimed responsibility for the train attack, but authorities have said the teen likely acted alone.

The scene of the massacre on Friday was also not far from where Palestinian attackers opened fire in the Olympic Village in 1972, killing 11 Israeli athletes.

The shooting happened on the same day that Norway paid an emotional tribute to the 77 people killed in a bombing-and-shooting rampage by a far-right terrorist five years ago.

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