Shooting At Munich Shopping Mall Kills At Least 9, Police Say
A shooting at a shopping mall in Munich has left at least eight people dead and at least 10 people injured, the Munich police say.
Police said that based on witness testimony, they were acting on the assumption that there were at least three attackers. No suspect has been taken into custody, and police are searching the entire city for suspects, NPR's Esme Nicholson reports.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson says it's not clear what motivated the attack.
A spokesman for the police says officers are investigating a ninth body near the shopping center that they believe is connected to the attack, but they have not confirmed if it is the body of a perpetrator or victim. They say they are continuing to actively look for suspects.
Germany's elite anti-terrorism force has been called in to help with the search.
The mall has been entirely evacuated. Public transportation has been shut down in the area, and police were urging residents to remain indoors and avoid public areas. The U.S. Consulate is reinforcing those warnings, telling any U.S. citizens in Munich not to travel to the consulate and to shelter in place instead.
"Munich is very much a ghost town," Soraya says, with people following instructions to stay off the streets.
On Twitter, people are using the hashtag #OffeneTür — or "open door" — to offer their homes for people to stay if they are on the street far from their own homes, or stranded by the lack of transportation. The newspaper Islamische Zeitung tweeted that mosques across the city will stay open overnight as a refuge to stranded citizens.
Meanwhile, a manhunt is underway across the city.
"The suspects are still on the run," the Munich police tweeted. The police described the situation as "unclear."
Witnesses reported seeing three people with weapons, police said on Facebook. The attack reportedly began at a McDonald's near the Olympia shopping center.
Angela Merkel's chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, described the attack as "cruel and inhumane," Reuters reports, and said the government is giving security and intelligence services the support they need to investigate.
Altmaier also said the government will do all it can to prevent extremist attacks, and has successfully intercepted planned attacks in the past, Reuters reports. But, he said, short of establishing a "surveillance state," absolute security is impossible.
The White House has condemned the shooting as "an apparent terrorist attack."
Soraya notes that Munich was already on edge because of an ax and knife attack earlier this week. That attack, allegedly carried out by a 17-year-old Afghan, was in the town of Wurzburg, north of Munich, in the same state of Bavaria.
"Munich is also known as one of the safest cities, if not the safest big city, in Germany," she says. "So this is all very confusing to people. [Residents] are trying to cooperate with authorities but they are also very much afraid."
This is a breaking news story. As often happens in situations like these, some information reported early may turn out to be inaccurate. We'll move quickly to correct the record and we'll only point to the best information we have at the time.