News agencies around the world are reporting that an armed man walked into a movie theater about 3PM local time today and opened fire. Details at this point are quite vague and it’s not clear if any of the injured were shot or caught in a stampede following the unleashing of tear gas to subdue the shooter following the arrival of the SWAT team.
The attack occurred in Viernheim, in Germany’s Hesse region near Frankfurt. Earlier reports have the suspect in police custody but no word was given as to whether or not he himself was shot.
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A number of people who escaped the building told various news agencies that the masked man entered the theater complex which is attached to a mall carry a (unspecified) gun and fired at least four shouts.
Bild newspaper is reporting that most, if not all, were injured by the SWAT team’s use of CS gas.
Germany has long been on a high terror alert
German police have sealed off a cinema complex in Viernheim, in Germany’s Hesse region, after an armed man barricaded himself in a cinema. There have been no confirmed reports of whether the man has taken hostages.
According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, the man entered the Kinopolis complex at about 3pm, wearing a mask and carrying a gun and a munition belt. The man is reported to have fired four shots.
Various German media are reporting that about 25 people have been injured, with Bild newspaper claiming the injuries are due to the use of CS gas.
German police’s special response unit have closed off an area around the cinema complex.
No indication has so far been given as to the shooter’s motives or intention.
UPDATE 11:28 EDT
Multiple news sites are now reporting that the shooter was killed by the SWAT team on scene and it appears that all the injuries are the result of law enforcement’s use of CS gas.
While a movie theater certainly has all the “soft target” characteristics that recent terror attacks in the United States, Europe and worldwide have experienced in the last years, this just doesn’t fit the profile of a terror attack and some media outlets are claiming that the attacker was simply firing blanks.
The massive loss of life in a movie theater in Colorado a few years back had nothing to do with Islamic terrorism and simply the “work” of a very sick lone gunman.
Security in Europe is high all over with most of that being focused on the Euro Championships taking place in France right now which would certainly be a big “win” for any attackers looking to make a point.