A gunman decked in a mask and draped with an ammunition belt stormed into a cinema complex in Vierhhelm, Germany, Thursday and opened fire, leaving up to 50 from CS gas that was tossed at the scene, preliminary reports said.
It’s not clear who unleashed the tear gas – the attacker or police, the Telegraph reported. But the gunman is dead, various media reported. It’s also not clear what type of weapons the gunman used, and whether it was even a genuine firearm or rather a stun gun.
Sky News, citing a regional interior minister, reported the gunman was shot and killed by police. The Associated Press, meanwhile, said nobody was injured from bullets, which the gunman fired into the air, but dozens may have suffered adverse effects from the tear gas released at the scene.
“We have no information that anyone was injured,” Hesse state interior minister Peter Beuth said, in the Telegraph. “The assailant moved through the cinema complex, according to the information we have now, and appeared confused. There were hostages inside and there was a struggle [with police] until in the end he was dead.”
RT reported the shooter apparently tried to take several people hostage, but his efforts fell short when member of the elite police force stormed the cinema and shot and killed him.
The motive for his attack in unknown, and members of the local elite police are currently investigating whether the shooting was a robbery attempt, or tied to politics or religious beliefs.
But Lars Henneman, the editor-in-chief of the Darmstadter Echo, who had a journalist at the scene, said to BBC the shooter was “in a state of confusion.” And another reporter, citing police, told a local media outlet the man, whose name has not been released, appeared to have a mental disorder.
The West has been under a state of alert in recent months, due to threats from ISIS and radical Islamists to attack key spots in Europe and the United States. In Orlando just recently, gunman Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 and injured 53 at a “gay” hot spot in the city, all the while calling emergency 9-1-1 and telling operators his attack was a show of allegiance to an ISIS chief.