Munich Shooting - What we know
Ali David Sonboly, an 18-year-old German-Iranian, went on a “rampage” at a shopping centre in the German city of Munich on Friday, killing nine people and injured 27 others. He killed himself after fleeing the scene. The gunman acted alone.
Robert Heimberger, head of Bavaria’s criminal police, said it appeared Sonboly had hacked a Facebook account and sent a message inviting people to come to the McDonald’s near the shopping centre for a free giveaway.
Sonboly was neither a refugee nor a religious Muslim with ties to ISIS having decided to carry out his Jihadist duties and massacre infidels. Claims that he shouted “Allahu Akbar” have been proven false. He didn’t state or even indicate being inspired by or doing it for Islam. His family’s faith makes it a lot less likely to be anything ISIS inspired, since one of ISIS’ biggest ambitions is to destroy Iran and kill Shia heretics.
Based on investigations, it has become evident that he was obsessed with mass shootings. His room contained documents on ‘frenzied attacks’, research about mass shootings and he had written material on such attacks. Prosecutors further found books that he had about school shootings; for instance he had a book titled: “Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters.” There were literally no references to religion found in his home or within anything related to him on social media. “There was material found in the apartment of the suspect that showed a particular interest in shooting sprees, [but] there is so far no indication of any connection to international terrorism,” Germany’s top security official Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.
Mr de Maiziere added that other information showed that the shooter had researched a 2009 school shooting in Germany, and the bomb and gun attacks in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people. It is noteworthy to indicate that the shooter had changed his profile picture to the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik on his WhatsApp profile and that he deliberately chose to act on Friday, to mark the five year anniversary of the 2011 Norway attacks.
The shooter was born and raised in Germany, and his parents were from Iran. He was in psychiatric care where he was treated for depression, having been bullied by his peers regularly and suffered physical injuries from those incidents. When carrying out the crime he was seen shouting that he had been bullied for seven years [see transcript of a video further down this post] before saying “and now I have to buy a weapon and shoot you all”. He was apparently a shy teen with depression and an obsession with mass shootings, the German police reported. Sonboly had no criminal record, but was the victim of two minor crimes: a theft in 2010 and bodily harm in 2012.
He was described by a neighbour as “very quiet”. “He only ever said 'hi’. His whole body language was of somebody who was very shy,” Stephan, a coffee shop owner who would only give his first name, told the Press Association.
Sonboly’s parents had come to Germany from Iran in the 1990s. His father is a taxi driver and his mother works at a department store.
32-year-old Tovero Evo, who lived in the same block of flats as Sonboly, said: “I didn’t think he had mental problems. He was always by himself, a bit lonely I think – I have never seen him with other boys or girls, but that’s it. We chatted a bit, how could one possibly know that something like this will happen. Now we are all pretty worried.”
Police are investigating how the gunman got the firearm used in the attack in a country whose gun control system is described by the US Congress Library as being “among the most stringent in Europe”.
“The investigation is still trying to determine where it came from,” police investigator Robert Hemberger said, adding that the assailant was not the registered owner of the gun.
Officials revealed the killer used a 9mm pistol and had 300 rounds of ammunition in his rucksack when he went on what they described as a “classic shooting rampage”. Police said the weapon was a Glock 17 handgun, which had had its serial number illegally filed off.
German authorities can prohibit anyone who is dependant on drugs or alcohol or is mentally ill from obtaining a gun license. Those under 25 have to undergo a psychiatric test. However, there up to 20 million illegal firearms in Germany, experts told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in January.
Despite there being no apparent Islamic linked to the killings, some Muslims spoke of their worries about a backlash. David Akhavan, who works in an Iranian restaurant, said: “I have started to get texts from friends asking if I was safe. Then my thoughts [about the killer] was please do not be a Muslim, plesase do not be Middle Eastern, please do not be Afghan. For myself, I want to say, I reject this violence.”
Here is a timeline of the attack, according to the police:
1. 5:50 p.m. The gunman began shooting near a McDonald’s restaurant.
2. He entered the Olympia Shopping Center across the street, and continued firing. Most of the victims were killed there.
3. He fled the shopping mall.
4. At some point, he was seen on video on the roof of a nearby parking garage. A police officer made visual contact with the gunman and fired at him, but missed. The gunman escaped.
5. 8:30 p.m. Less than a mile from the mall, in front of two police officers, the gunman killed himself with his own gun, the police said.
6. 3:30 a.m. The authorities raided a building where the gunman lived, with his parents and brother. They removed computer equipment, documents and other materials.
Video footage has emerged purportedly showing the Munich shooter shouting “I am German” as he argues with bystanders.
Filmed from a balcony of a nearby building, it shows the alleged shooter walking on an adjacent structure, exchanging insults with onlookers.
Shortly into the verbal exchange, the shooter, shouts “I am German” and then “I was born here” after the onlooker shouts xenophobic remarks at him.
After more hostile words between the two parties, gunshots are heard and the person behind the camera is forced to take cover behind a wall.
An abridged transcript of the exchange is below:
Man: Why you arsehole, you dog f******?
Alleged gunman: Because of you I was bullied for seven years…
Man: You w******, you are an arsehole, look here!
Gunman: And now I have to buy a weapon and shoot you all
Man: Yeah, you do that. Do you know what, your skull deserves to be bashed in.
Sirens in the background
You arsehole look here, HEY!
Gunman: (unintelligible) let, yeah?
Man, apparently to people filming: Hey, he’s got a firearm, the w*****, look here!
Another voice: F****** Turks!
Man: Fucking foreigners around here. HEY!
Person filming: (inaudible muttering, speaking to a woman)
Man: Hey, he’s got a firearm… He…he…he’s loaded his weapon.
Man: Get the cops! Look here! He’s walking about, the w*****
Gunman: I am German!
Man: You’re a w*****, you are!
Gunman: Stop whining!
Man: A w*****, what the f*** are you doing?
Gunman: “Yeah what, I was born here.”
Man: So what, what the f*** are you doing?
Gunman: …I was born in the Hartz IV (unemployment benefits in Germany) area
Man: Your brain deserves to be bashed in, you arsehole down there!
Gunman: In the…
Gunman: I haven’t done anything since the fifth grade/school class (sounds agitated)
Man: Is this live ammunition?
Gunman: Shut your mouth
(murmuring from those filming)
Man: He’s walking about in the upper corner, he’s walking around here.
(Person filimg speaks to woman)
Two gunshots. Sounds of people panicking and screaming.
One or two more gunshots, muffled.
Man: Arsehole! You f****** arsehole!
Another voice: Is this real, what’s happening? Have they…
Man: (Unintelligible)…you complete idiot.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tweeted: “I am deeply shocked and saddened by Munich shootings. My thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and all Germany at this time.”
Addressing a White House meeting, US President Barack Obama said: “We don’t yet know exactly what’s happening there, but obviously our hearts go out to those who may have been injured. We are going to pledge all the support they may need.”
Amid the horror, Munich locals expressed solidarity by offering sanctuary to thousands of people stranded on the streets as transport links shut down due to security measures. Residents used the hashtag #OffeneTür meaning ‘Open Door’ to offer their homes or businesses as places to stay.
Mosques in the city remained open overnight, accepting people with nowhere to stay and offering support for those traumatised by events or still searching for loved ones.
Germany’s security council is due to hold an emergency meeting today to address the shootings, led by Chancellor Merkel.