Police said at least ten people have been killed in a “shooting rampage” at a shopping mall in Munich, Germany Friday evening.
Munich police tweeted that a man found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound appeared to be the only shooter.
— Polizei München (@PolizeiMuenchen) July 22, 2016
Police responded to reports of multiple people shot at the Olympia Einkaufszentrum shopping centre, outside of a McDonalds restaurant at 5:50 p.m. local time.
Residents have been told to stay indoors and avoid the area where the shooting occurred during the police operation.
“At the moment, we have a large police operation. Please avoid the area around the shopping centre,” read a tweet from Munich Police. “We believe we are dealing with a shooting rampage,” Reuters quoted a police spokesperson as saying. As of 11:30 local time, Munich was on lockdown, with travel in and out of the city restricted.
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. At least 10 people were injured in the attack and police said the situation was still developing. Late Friday, bomb experts were checking for possible explosives on the body of a man found about a kilometer from the attack scene, the dpa news agency said. A backpack found on the body was also being examined as police tried to determine if it was that of the shooter.
Earlier, police said there were multiple unconfirmed reports of “more violence and possible gunfire in the City Center,” the force said on social media and told residents to “please avoid public areas.” Citizens near the scene of the shooting were opening their doors to shelter people using the hashtag #OpenDoor or #OffenTur. Facebook has also activated its Safety Check feature, to allow people in the midst of the situation let their loved ones know whether or not they are out of harm’s way. According to AFP, Munich’s main train station was evacuated and the metro and bus services were suspended. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is being briefed on the attack and the government has sent their elite anti-terrorism force to the scene. Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier called the shooting a “cruel and inhumane attack.” Altmaier also said that terrorism can not be ruled out. Global Affairs Canada said the agency “is monitoring reports of a shopping centre shooting in Munich.”
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with those affected by a shooting at the Olympia shopping centre in Munich, Germany,” spokesperson François Lasalle said in a statement. “We are trying to determine if Canadian citizens have been directly affected and stand ready to provide consular assistance to Canadian citizens.” Justin Trudeau sent out a statement offering his sympathy to the victims and the families involved in the attack.
The government of Canada is closely monitoring the situation in Munich. We stand with Germany & offer our sympathies to victims & families. — Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 22, 2016
President Barack Obama also commented on the shooting, calling Germany one of America’s “greatest allies.” He also said that the attack was another reminder that our “way of life, our freedoms, our ability to go about our business everyday” depends on law enforcement.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 22, 2016
This is the second violent incident to take place in Germany this week.
On Monday, a teenage Afghan migrant armed with an axe and a knife attacked passengers aboard a regional train in southern Germany, injuring four people before he was shot and killed by police as he fled, authorities said.
*With files from the Associated Press