Germany shootings: Federal prosecutors take over Hanau investigation — live updates

Prosecutors say there are indications of a far-right motive as police examine a letter and video claiming responsibility for a shooting at two hookah bars in the town of Hanau. Follow the developments live.

– The suspected perpetrator was later found dead at his home along with the body of his mother.

– The main suspect allegedly expressed far-right views in a letter of confession.

– Federal prosecutors have taken over the investigation due to the severity of the case.

All updates are in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC)

11:47 The Confederation of the Kurdistan Community in Germany said “we are angry, because the politically responsible in this country have not made a decisive stand against right-wing networks and right-wing terrorism.”

10:45 French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “deep sadness” and said he “stands by Chancellor Merkel in this fight for our values and the protection of our democracy.”

10:42 German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that if initial suspicions turned out to be true, the “horrific crime in Hanau would be the third far-right murder attack in Germany the space of a year. Far-right terrorism is a threat to our country once again … Democracy must stand up against the enemies of freedom.”

10:38 President of the German Central Council of Jews Josef Schuster said “too long has the danger from growing far-right wing in Germany been trivialized and neglected.”

“Police and the justice system appear to often have a blind spot in their right eye,” he added, saying this is “having its revenge now.”

10:32 Yanki Pürsün, a lawmaker in the Hesse state parliament told DW’s Turkish service that three of the victims were of Turkish descent and five had a North African background.

10:29 German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said “I learned about the terrorist act in Hanau with horror. My deepest sympathy and condolences go out to the victims and their relatives. I wish a speedy recovery to those injured.”

“I stand on the side of all people who are threatened by acts of racism. They are not alone. The large majority of people in Germany condemn this act and every form of racism, hate and violence,”  added Steinmeier, speaking from Berlin.

10:12 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s former defence minister, tweeted she was “deeply shocked by the tragedy,” and sent her “sincerest condolences” to the friends and families of the victims, adding: “We mourn with you today.”

10:08 Security sources say many of the victims were of foreign descent. The shootings took place in an area with a large Kurdish community.

09:59 Hesse State Premier Volker Bouffier said he was “basically speechless” at the shootings.

09:53 European Council President Charles Michel calls the Hanau shootings a “tragedy,” just hours before he is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders in Brussels.

“The pointless loss of human lives is a tragedy – irrespective of where it occurs,” Michel wrote on Twitter.

09:47 The president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, also offered his thought to the victims on Twitter. “We stand united against any form of hate and violence.”

09:38 Yan San-Pierre, a security expert and counter-terrorism advisor, in Frankfurt told DW:

“Investigations seem to be moving along a lot faster than in previous cases — like Halle and the Walter Lübcke case and other right wing attacks we have seen in the past few months and years. The fact that the state prosecutor has taken over is already a sign how fast things are moving along.”

09:35 “Today is not a day for political debate, therefore the Hesse parliament will not meet today,” said the president of the Hesse state parliament, Boris Rhein.

09:27 There will be a public remembrance in Hanau marketplace at 6 p.m. local time (17:00 UTC) on Thursday.

09:19 “There is still no evidence of any further assailants,” said Hesse state Interior Minister Peter Beuth. He said the shootings were “an attack on our free and peaceful society.”

09:17 The shooting took place in Hanau, a city of 100,000 inhabitants in the state fo Hesse, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) east of Frankfurt.

09:11 The Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) spoke out against the Hanau attack, denouncing it as an “attack on democracy.” ZMD general secretary, Abdassamad El Yazidi, called for authorities and politics to protect migrants and Muslims, in a conversation with DW.

09:00 Germany in November announced extra resources

08:45 Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Thursday from Berlin “it is shocking, how many people were senselessly killed.”

08:40 Interior Minister Horst Seehofer will not be attending a meeting on digitalization, according to a spokesperson.

08:40 Hesse state Interior Minister Peter Beuth said the suspect was a 43-year-old German man. The body of the person thought to be his mother, was 72-years-old.

08:21 Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled a planned visit to the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt. “The Chancellor is being continuously updated on the investigation in Hanau,” wrote German government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Twitter.

08:10 Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed sympathy for the relatives of the victims. “The terrible events in #Hanau hurts all of us,” he tweeted. “Following this terrible night our thoughts are with the dead, their families and relatives. We wish the injured a speedy recovery,” added Maas.

08:48 Hesse state interior minister Peter Beuth confirmed the possible right-wing extremist link. “From what we know so far a xenophobic motive is the most likely,” he said. A homepage linked to the attacker pointed to right-wing views held by the suspect.

08:47 DW’s reporter Rebecca Staudenmaier is reporting from the Hanau. Earlier this morning she spoke to an eye witness who narrowly missed being caught up in the shooting.

08:45 Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Thursday from Berlin “it is shocking, how many people were senselessly killed.”

08:40 Interior Minister Horst Seehofer will not be attending a meeting on digitalization, according to a spokesperson.

08:40 Hesse state Interior Minister Peter Beuth said the suspect was a 43-year-old German man. The body of the person thought to be his mother, was 72-years-old.

08:21 Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled a planned visit to the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt. “The Chancellor is being continuously updated on the investigation in Hanau,” wrote German government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Twitter.

08:10 Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed sympathy for the relatives of the victims. “The terrible events in #Hanau hurts all of us,” he tweeted. “Following this terrible night our thoughts are with the dead, their families and relatives. We wish the injured a speedy recovery,” added Maas.

08:00 Seibert said on Twitter that “deep condolences go out to the families who are grieving for their dead.”

07:54 German media are reporting that the body found in the same apartment as the suspect was his mother.

07:50 The suspect uploaded a video to YouTube in the days before the attack. The man relayed conspiracy theories in a “message to all Americans” in fluent English. The clip was still visible to view on the platform on Thursday morning.

07:45 Federal prosecutors announced they would take over the investigation due to the severity of the case. A spokesperson said there were “indications of a far-right motive.”

07:40 Police were examining a letter of confession and a video found at the suspect’s home. Local media are reporting that this expressed a far-right motive.

07:30 Late on Wednesday night a perpetrator opened fire at a Hookah bar in Hanau’s downtown, killing three people, before driving to the neighborhood of Kesselstadt and opening fire at a second hookah bar, where five people died.