Six dead in shooting at Hamburg Jehovah’s Witness center: local media

HAMBURG (CNN): A deadly shooting erupted at a Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall in in Hamburg on Thursday evening, leaving several dead, according to police.

At least six people are dead and seven people injured, CNN affiliate RTL/NTV reported.

The incident in the northern German city occurred around 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) and there are “one or more unknown” assailants, Hamburg police said in a statement.

A police spokesperson said that authorities are investigating whether the shooter is among the several people found dead in the building.

After being called to the building, police saw dead and injured people on the bottom floor – where an event was taking place – of the three-storey place of worship, Hamburg police spokesman Holger Vehren told NTV.

Police also heard a shot on the top floor of the building when they first entered it and found a dead person upstairs. Police believe it may have been the perpetrator but said no further information could be given at this point, a spokesperson said.

Footage from the scene showed numerous armed police officers inside and around the Kingdom Hall while a helicopter flew overhead.

The streets around the place of worship have been cordoned off, and police have warned of “extreme danger” in the area, the spokesperson added.

Nearby residents have been urged to stay indoors.

There is “no confirmed information on the motive for the crime,” police said on Twitter as they urged people not to share any unconfirmed assumptions.

The spokesperson said police are treating the shooting as an isolated incident.

Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher expressed his “deepest sympathy” for the relatives of the victims, calling the reports of the incident “shocking” on Twitter.

“My deepest sympathy goes to the relatives of the victims. Emergency services are working at full speed to pursue the perpetrator(s),” he wrote.

Shootings in Germany are not unheard of, though rarer than in the United States. In January 2022, at least one person was killed after man opened fire on students in a lecture hall at Heidelberg University in southwestern Germany.

In 2020, a mass shooting at two shisha bars in Hanau killed several people.