2016 Munich shooting

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2016 Munich shooting
Outside the McDonalds on Hanauer Straße 83, looking northwest on a cloudy day.
Outside the McDonald's on Hanauer Straße 83, looking northwest, where the shooting began
Munich is located in Bavaria
Munich
Munich
Munich (Bavaria)
Munich is located in Germany
Munich
Munich
Munich (Germany)
Location Moosach, Munich, Germany
Coordinates 48°11′0″N 11°32′1″E / 48.18333°N 11.53361°E / 48.18333; 11.53361Coordinates: 48°11′0″N 11°32′1″E / 48.18333°N 11.53361°E / 48.18333; 11.53361
Date 22 July 2016
17:52 (UTC+2)
Target Civilians
Attack type
Mass shooting, murder–suicide[1]
Weapons Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol [2]
Deaths 10 (including the perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
36 (4 by gunfire)[3][4]
Perpetrator David Sonboly (born Ali Sonboly)[5]
Motive Under investigation[6]

On 22 July 2016, a shooting occurred in the vicinity of the Olympia shopping mall in the Moosach district of Munich, Germany. Ten people, including the perpetrator, were killed and 36 others were injured. The shooting took place at a McDonald's restaurant near the shopping mall, in front of a Saturn electronics store nearby, and in the mall itself. The gunman, later identified as 18-year-old David Sonboly, died nearby from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His motive was unclear, but thought to be political due to his right-wing extremist stands, which would also explain the chosen date. The investigation concluded it to be an apolitical mass-shooting motivated by xenophobia, mobbing, and psychological issues.[7]

Shooting[edit]

At 17:52 CEST (15:52 UTC), a gunman opened fire at a McDonald's west of the Olympia shopping mall in the Moosach district of Munich, Germany.[8] Despite initial reports of multiple attack sites, police could not confirm attacks in any other locations besides the shopping area.[9]

Early reports and videos[edit]

Map of shooting:
(1) McDonald's, where the shooting started
(2) Olympia shopping mall

An early witness talking to CNN correspondent Doug McConnell on the phone claimed that the gunman had shouted "Allahu Akbar!"[10] Identified only by her first name Lauretta, the woman's account has not been verified by other witnesses or the police, though it was widely disseminated in the media.[11]

A video distributed online showed a gunman firing at pedestrians outside McDonald's. He then moved on to the shopping mall itself.[12][13][14][15][16] Another video showed the gunman walking alone on the roof of a nearby car park before opening fire again.[17] He was heard shouting "I am German" (Ich bin Deutscher) and "I was born here" (Ich bin hier geboren) after an onlooker shouted anti-Turkish statements and other abuse at him.[18][19][20] According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the gunman also shouted back "Shit Turks".[21] However, it is still not clear who started the anti-Turkish insults.[22]

Authorities' response[edit]

An urgent warning was issued to avoid the Karlsplatz ("Stachus"), due to reports of multiple shootings occurring there. Munich police had received information about an attack at Karlsplatz, but after arriving there, announced that the information was false.[23][24] Drivers were advised not to pick up any passengers. People in Munich were warned by the police to stay at home and avoid crowds and public squares.[25]

Following initial reports of shots being fired, some 2,300 officers were deployed throughout Munich from the greater area and surrounding states. A manhunt was soon initiated. Munich police urged residents not to leave their homes until further notice.[1] The special operations police unit GSG 9 was deployed.[26] Other regions of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland were asked to assist in the investigation.[27] A backpack was found apparently matching the one carried by the gunman at McDonald's. Police reportedly used a robot to investigate it,[28] and a total of 300 rounds were found inside.[29] Police officials warned of "an acute terror situation" and initially thought that there were up to three attackers, but later confirmed that there was only one gunman.[13][30]

The Munich U-Bahn, tram service, bus service, and services on the central portion of the S-Bahn in Munich were stopped.[31][32] Munich main station was evacuated and all trains were cancelled in and out of Munich. Regional and inter-city trains ceased their service to and from the region of the shooting.[33] Deutsche Bahn provided accommodation trains for stranded commuters and tourists where they could seek refuge. These were located at Mammendorf, Starnberg, Geltendorf, Dachau, and Freising.[34]

Just before 20.30 CEST,[13] the gunman was located about 1 km (0.6 mi) from the mall.[35] He shot and killed himself in front of two police officers.[13]

Casualties[edit]

Nine victims and the perpetrator died in the incident, 16 others were injured,[36] four by gunshots.[37] Three of the dead were female, and six were male.[38][39][40][41] Two of the victims were of Turkish origin, one Greek[42] two victims were from German Sinti families and one from a Kosovan Roma family.[43]

  • Sevda Dağ, 45, Turkish
  • Hüseyin Dayıcık, 19, Greek[42]
  • Selçuk Kiliç, 15, Turkish
  • Giuliano Kollmann, 18, German of Romanian origin[44]
  • Can Leyla, 14, Turkish
  • Roberto Rafael, 15, Hungarian
  • Armela Segashi, 14, Kosovan
  • Sabina Sulaj, 14, Kosovan
  • Dijamant Zabergja, 21, German of Kosovan descent

There have been claims that Sonboly deliberately targeted people of Turkish or Arab origin, groups he apparently felt had picked on him at school.[41] The state government said that the victims were not chosen in any way and Sonboly did not know any of them.[45] Police thought it was a coincidence that all of the fatalities were of immigrant backgrounds, as the McDonald's near the shopping mall was frequently patronised by the children of migrants.[46]

In preparation for admitting the injured, multiple hospitals called their medical staff for work outside normal working hours. A state of emergency was declared at the Rechts der Isar Hospital, where an injured victim died.[14]

Investigation[edit]

Munich police chief Hubertus Andrä said that the shooting appeared to be a "classic shooting rampage" and not terrorism.[35] Police said that the gunman was obsessed with mass shootings, and that written material on such attacks was found in his room.[17] Prosecutor Steinkraus Koch said that the gunman had a book about school shootings called Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters by Peter Langman.[35] No references to religion had been found in documents in his home.[10] Andrä said that there was an "obvious" link between the shooting and Friday's fifth anniversary of the 2011 Norway attacks committed by Anders Behring Breivik.[10][17][47] However, a police search of the shooter's residence did not find the manifesto written and distributed by Breivik.[45] According to Abendzeitung, they found the shooter's own manifesto on his computer hard disk.[48]

Police investigator Robert Heimberger said that the shooter appeared to have hacked a girl's Facebook account in an attempt to lure people to McDonald's with an offer of free food.[49]

Authorities said that the gunman had been planning the shooting for a year and probably purchased his gun illegally on the darknet.[45][50] It was said to be a "reactivated" Glock 17 9mm semi-automatic pistol that previously had been used as a theatre prop.[50][51][52] German police believe that the gun may have originated in Slovakia, and said its serial number had been removed.[50]

On 25 July, Munich police announced the arrest of a 16-year-old Afghan friend of the perpetrator who was being investigated on suspicion of failing to report the gunman's plans.[45][53]

Perpetrator[edit]

David Sonboly
Born Ali Sonboly[5]
20 April 1998[54]
Munich, Germany
Died 22 July 2016 (aged 18)
Moosach district, Munich, Germany
Cause of death Self-inflicted gunshot wound
Residence Maxvorstadt, Munich
Nationality Iranian–German
Other names علی سنبلی[55]
Occupation Newspaper delivery boy, student

David Sonboly (born Ali Sonboly;[5] 20 April 1998 – 22 July 2016) was an 18-year-old Iranian-German with dual nationality.[35][56][57] The Munich Police Department said Sonboly was born and raised in Munich and had no criminal record.[28][58] He lived in an apartment in the neighbourhood of Maxvorstadt with his parents and younger brother.[59][60][61][62] He grew up in a secular household, according to his neighbours.[63] He had a part-time job distributing a local free newspaper.[64] Neighbours described him as a "polite boy".[65][63]

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said that he was the son of Shiite Muslims from Iran who came to Germany as asylum seekers in the 1990s.[10][66] Sonboly's parents told police that their son had possibly converted to Christianity, but that he was not religious.[67][68] In May 2016, Sonboly had his name changed in all official documents from Ali to David.[5]

Possible motives[edit]

Police said that he had been in psychiatric care, where he was treated for depression.[17][35] Prosecutors said that he had been treated for two months in a mental care facility in 2015.[45] Thomas de Maizière said that he may have been bullied by his peers,[17][69] and police said that he had suffered "bodily injury" in an incident involving other young people in 2012.[10] During the attack, Sonboly shouted that he had been bullied for seven years.[70] A former classmate recalled, "We always mobbed [sic] him in school, and he always told us that he would kill us."[71]

Munich police chief, Hubertus Andrä said that Sonboly had an obsession with mass shooters, including the perpetrator of the Winnenden school shooting; he compiled a scrapbook of news clippings on mass shootings and owned several books on the matter.[65][72] He also visited Winnenden and took pictures there.[73]

One of Sonboly's classmates said that Sonboly had changed his profile picture on the messaging service WhatsApp to a photo of Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik.[69][72] Der Spiegel reported that according to fellow online video game players, Sonboly posted "Turkey=ISIS" in a message in 2015 and that he had expressed admiration for Germany's right-wing AfD party,[74] and that he was "very nationalistic," repeatedly uttering anti-Turkish abuse.[75] The Local claimed that "those who knew him" said he considered himself part of the Aryan race,[76] while The Guardian cited accounts from Sonboly's acquaintances who said he boasted about sharing the same birthday as Adolf Hitler and called it an "accolade".[77]

Reactions[edit]

Domestic[edit]

Flowers laid at the mall after the shooting
Olympia shopping mall from afar, street view, on partly cloudy winter day
Olympia shopping mall (Olympia-Einkaufszentrum or OEZ) as seen in 2007.

Bavarian State Police urged the public not to publish online any photos or videos of the shooting. They provided a special upload platform, which allowed witnesses to upload photos, audio, or video recordings to directly assist in the investigation.[78] Munich residents also used the Twitter hashtag #offeneTür (open door) to tell people in need of shelter where they could go.[1]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel turned to the victims' families in a press conference on 23 July by saying, "We suffer with you." She thanked the Munich residents who opened their doors for stranded people.[79] The Minister-President of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, urged extreme caution against making premature conclusions, and noted that optimisation of the security forces had to be considered. He said he had spent more than four hours in the operations centre on 22 July, and thanked the forces for acting with professionalism and calm. The Interior Minister of Bavaria, Joachim Herrmann, announced an investigation as to why there had been numerous false alarms.[80]

The German Depression-Help Trust (Stiftung Deutsche Depressionshilfe) warned of stigmatizing mentally ill people in reaction to the shooting. Ulrich Hegerl, chairman of the Trust and director of Leipzig University Psychiatry, said the school was sure that depression was not the cause for the perpetrator's actions, as such a diagnosis would not have necessarily played a role.[81]

After the shooter was revealed to have been born in Germany, the right-wing politician, André Poggenburg, was condemned and mocked in German media for having previously blamed Merkel's open refugee policy for the shooting.[82]

International[edit]

The U.S. Department of State warned Americans in Munich to "shelter in place."[83] President Barack Obama said in a statement that he pledged support for those affected by the shooting.[28][84][85]

Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said his country would reinforce its borders to prevent the perpetrator(s) from fleeing into that country, according to German television station n-tv.[27] The Czech Foreign Ministry urged Czechs to avoid public places and set up an emergency hotline.[86]

The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack. The Ministry's spokesperson, Bahram Ghassemi, expressed condolences to the German government and nation, saying, "The killing of innocent and defenseless civilians has marked another blot on the human history".[87][88]

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that having a Greek citizen among the dead "binds us even more to the fight to eradicate hatred and terrorism in Europe."[41]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]