Just four minutes after the first emergency calls, a patrol arrived at the building that Jehovah’s Witnesses have Hamburg and where, on Thursday night, it was committed one of the worst crimes in the recent history of this city. The massacre could have been much worse if the security forces had arrived later, but still, Philipp F., a former member of that religious sect, shot dead seven people -four men and two women, between 33 and 60 years old-, as well as one seven month gestation unborn child and left eight injured, four of them seriously. The alleged shooter committed suicide after the attack. “It is very likely that there will be no more casualties thanks to the swift and determined intervention of the security forces,” said regional Home Minister Andy Grote.
everything happened past nine at night. The people who called the Police reported shots inside the parish, in the Alsterdorf district, in the neighborhood of Gross Borstel, where a religious service was held, after which some of the participants stayed to chat. According to the first investigations, Philipp F. approached the building from the north sidehey in the same parking lot shot ten times at a woman who was inside his car and that he was able to escape with minor injuries. Later he entered the building “without stopping shooting”, according to Martin Tres, head of a security company. Luckily, a police patrol was in the vicinity of the church, so a few minutes later, Around 9:11 p.m., the first agents arrived. Being cornered, the attacker fled to the second floor where he committed suicide. Philipp F. carried 22 full clips for his pistol in a backpack and on his body, in addition to nine magazines with 135 cartridges who shot earlier. A German national, Philipp F. had lived in Hamburg since 2014 and had no criminal record of any kind. With a sporting weapons permit, he used a semi-automatic Heckler and Koch P30 to commit the massacre. Although at first he sought out a second author, he finally Police concluded that he acted alone.
There were apparently indications that Philipp F. might have psychological problems. Last January, the Police received a letter in which an anonymous person requested that the attacker’s weapons permit will be reviewedin addition to noting that Philipp F. suffered from mental illness and that he had special animosity towards everything religious, especially against Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom he left of his own free will, though not on good terms. Although the 35-year-old man had all the permits in order to possess weapons, the police decided, after receiving the letter and without prior notice, to visit his home where, according to several German media outlets, they found nothing relevant that could arouse suspicion among officers. The gun was kept in a safe. and Philipp F. showed understanding when the two policemen warned him that he could not have bullets or ammunition outside the box. “Officials’ legal options were exhausted,” police chief Ralf Martin Meyer said. Based on the results of the inspection, there was no reason to take further action at that time. “We have to critically analyze whether it is necessary to adjust the legal powers”Meyer added.
Messages of condolence have been played across the country. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier reacted “with great horror” to the crime. “My thoughts are with the dead and their families, my condolences on this day of grief,” a spokeswoman said on her behalf on Twitter. “My thoughts are with the victims and their families during these difficult times,” said Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz. Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser visited the crime scene on Friday afternoon, where she personally thanked the efforts of the police and rescue teams. Jehovah’s Witnesses were “deeply affected by the horrific shooting.” “Our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and eyewitnesses”They transmitted through a statement.