UPDATE – Munich gunman may be ‘inspired’ by Norwegian terrorist


By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN (AA) – A German-Iranian teenager who gunned down nine people and injured 27 others at a shopping mall in Munich Friday night may have been inspired by far-right Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik’s 2011 rampage, officials have said.

Police Chief Hubertus Andrae told reporters an initial investigation revealed no information suggesting the 18-year-old suspect, who killed himself after the incident, had any political motivation or ties to the terrorist group Daesh.

“During searches at the room of the suspect, we have found documents on the topic of rampage, showing that the perpetrator has long intensively engaged in this,” he said, adding that they also found newspaper clippings and books about rampage in his room.

“Yesterday was the fifth anniversary,” Andrae noted, referring to the massacre by Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.

“If one deals so much with the topic of rampage, then I believe one must consider in the first instance that he might also have been inspired by Breivik, as it is has been the biggest rampage so far,” he said.

The 18-year-old German national of Iranian descent, was born and grew up in Munich, and was a high school student, without any criminal record, according to police.

According to initial information, he was in psychological care for some time due to depression, Chief Prosecutor Thomas Steinkraus-Koch said.

– Religious conversion

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the suspect was born into an Iranian Shia family, but used the first name David, suggesting that he might have converted to Christianity from Islam.

“In any case, we will continue to examine hints indicating this,” he said.

But De Maiziere also underlined that his parents told the police that their child was not a practicing member of any religion.

Video footage aired on N24 TV showed the assailant randomly shooting at people Friday evening in front of a fast-food restaurant near the Munich Olympia shopping center.

Munich Police Chief Andrae said the assailant had used a 9mm Glock pistol and had some 300 rounds of ammunition.

Most victims were teenagers and residents of Munich.

Three Turkish citizens were among the dead, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed Saturday.

Police said there were no tourists among the victims.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel convened an extraordinary meeting of the Federal Security Council Saturday to review measures following the rampage.

The shooting alarmed authorities Friday evening amid growing threats by the terrorist group Daesh to launch attacks targeting European countries.

Police had declared an emergency and launched a major manhunt in Munich city soon after the incident, as eyewitness statements claimed three assailants were involved in the attack.

The Munich Olympia shopping center was evacuated and elite GSG 9 counterterrorism teams were sent to the city for a possible operation against the assailants.