Eight people are dead and an unknown number are wounded after a shooting at the Olympia shopping center in Munich’s Moosbach neighborhood on Friday. Munich police spokesman Marcus da Gloria Martins confirmed that a ninth body, a suicide, had been found more than half a mile away from the mall, but any connection was still under investigation.
Munich police described Friday’s events as “an acute terror situation.” GSG9, the German Federal Police’s antiterrorist unit, was called in to assist the Bavarian capital. No connection to Islamic terrorism has been confirmed, and no motive is known at this time.
“When a man with a ‘long gun’ — which is how it was first reported — opens fire in a shopping center, and we look back at what has happened in Europe in the last few weeks, then I think it is justified that we consider the worst possible outcome,” da Gloria Martins told a press conference, adding, “as many as three perpetrators could be at large.”
Emergency responders arrived at the scene after receiving a call around 6 p.m. saying a man had opened fire inside a McDonald’s restaurant at the center. The multifloor shopping center was evacuated, and searched by police.
Hundreds of police rushed to the site, and public transportation and foot traffic around the mall was halted. The city’s main train station was closed, many hotels shut their doors, and taxi drivers were encouraged not to pick up passengers in the area.
Munich’s police also advised residents and visitors to stay home and avoid public spaces. They also requested that no videos or pictures be posted on social media so as not to give information about police positions to the perpetrator or perpetrators.
The shooting comes in an already tense atmosphere in the country, and specifically Bavaria, following Monday’s axe and knife attack by a 17-year-old asylum seeker, who injured several people on a regional train, then was killed by police. On Tuesday, authorities said they found a hand-drawn flag of the Islamic State in the youth’s room. As of yet, there have not been any attacks with a clear terrorist motive in Germany.
The shopping center is the largest in Munich and in the Bavarian region. The center has department stores, more than 130 specialty stores, restaurants and cafés.