Lone teen killer behind Munich mall shooting

(Left) Police securing a subway station near the mall where Sonboly (above) started his attack. He had a gun and 300 rounds in a rucksack. He was later found with a shot to the head.
Police securing a subway station near the mall where Sonboly started his attack. He had a gun and 300 rounds in a rucksack. He was later found with a shot to the head.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
(Left) Police securing a subway station near the mall where Sonboly (above) started his attack. He had a gun and 300 rounds in a rucksack. He was later found with a shot to the head.
Police securing a subway station near the mall where Sonboly (above) started his attack. He had a gun and 300 rounds in a rucksack. He was later found with a shot to the head.PHOTO: FACEBOOK

9 killed; 18-year-old obsessed with mass shootings, had no links with ISIS: Police

MUNICH • The lone teenager who shot dead nine people in a gun rampage in Munich was "obsessed" with mass killers such as Norwegian right-wing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, police said yesterday.

"There is absolutely no link to the Islamic State (in Iraq and Syria)," Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae said. He said the assault was a "classic act by a deranged person" and described an individual "obsessed" with mass shootings.

He said investigators saw an "obvious link" between Friday's killings and Breivik's massacre of 77 people in a bomb attack in Oslo and a shooting rampage on the nearby island of Utoya exactly five years earlier.

Most of the victims in Friday's attack were foreigners. Munich prosecutor Thomas Steinkraus-Koch said the 18-year-old German-Iranian student - named as David Ali Sonboly - had suffered depression, while media reports said he had undergone psychiatric treatment.

The teenager had 300 rounds in a rucksack when he targeted the busy Olympia shopping mall, just minutes away from the flat he shared with his family, according to the authorities.

The shooting began at a McDonald's fast-food restaurant at the mall near Munich's Olympic stadium at 5.50pm local time on Friday.

A video posted on social media appeared to show the man, dressed in black, walking away from the restaurant while firing repeatedly on people as they fled. He is reported to have then entered the mall to target more people before fleeing after encountering an armed plainclothes policeman. He would later exchange gunfire with police on top of a car park near the mall.

Initially believing that three gunmen were involved, the authorities launched a city-wide manhunt, mobilising more than 2,000 police supported by the elite GSG 9 anti-terrorist unit and helicopters.

Munich's main train station was closed and public transport suspended for several hours. Police later found the body of the sole shooter, who had killed himself with a shot to the head.

Special forces raided the suspect's apartment, which he shared with his parents, and removed boxes during the night. Even though the police found no terrorist link, ISIS supporters celebrated the attack on social media. "(ISIS) is expanding in Europe," read one tweet.

Among the nine killed were three Turks, three Kosovans and a Greek national, according to their foreign ministries. Most of the casualties were young people aged 15 to 21, with three women among the dead, according to Munich police.

Sixteen people were wounded, three of them critically.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday said she was mourning those killed in the attack, vowing that the security services would do everything to ensure the public was safe. "We are all - and I'm saying this on behalf of the whole federal government - mourning with a heavy heart for those who will never return to their families," Dr Merkel said.

Europe reacted in shock to the third attack on the continent in just over a week. The attack came just four days after a 17-year-old asylum seeker went on a rampage with an axe and a knife on a train near Wuerzburg, also in Bavaria, injuring five people.

Days before, on July 14, 31-year-old Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel used a truck to mow down 84 people, including children, after a Bastille Day fireworks display in Nice, the third major attack on French soil in the past 18 months.

German President Joachim Gauck said he was horrified by the "murderous attack". EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: "Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, and all German people. Europe stands united."

French President Francois Hollande expressed sympathy and solidarity with German officials and people "in these difficult hours", while US President Barack Obama voiced staunch support for Washington's close ally.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 24, 2016, with the headline 'Lone teen killer behind Munich mall shooting'. Print Edition | Subscribe