Afghan, 16, arrested in connection with Munich shootings — (The Guardian)

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The Guardian

Teenager detained for possible failure to report gunman Ali Sonboly’s plans, which had been underway for more than a year, according to German investigators
German police have arrested a 16-year-old Afghan youth on suspicion of a connection to the killing of nine people by an 18-year-old gunman in Munich, authorities have said.

The youth was under investigation for possibly having failed to report the plans of Ali Sonboly, who later shot himself, and may have played a role in a Facebook posting that invited people to a meeting near Munich train station, a police statement said on Sunday evening.

“There is a suspicion that the 16-year-old is a possible tacit accomplice to [Friday’s] attack,” it said.

Earlier, investigators said that the gunman spent more than a year planning the attack and was able to buy a handgun on the dark web, an area of the internet that allows users to remain anonymous and is often used for illegal purposes. Police came to its conclusion after observing chat messaging history on the gunman’s computer.

Bavarian investigator Robert Heimberger said Sonboly had visited the scene of a school shooting in the German town of Winneden in 2009, when Tim Kretschmer, 17, killed 15 people at his former school before fleeing and killing himself. Sonboly took photographs of the scene, adding further evidence to the claim by Munich’s police chief, Hubertus Andrae, that the teenager was “obsessed with shooting rampages”.

Investigators found on his computer photos of Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. The Munich gunman planned his attack on the fifth anniversary of Breivik’s shooting and used a similar Glock 17 pistol.

Authorities confirmed that the gunman had written a manifesto before the attack, but did not reveal any details about its content.

Sonboly’s identity was confirmed to police on Friday by his father, who contacted the police after recognising his son on a video that was circulating on social media after the shooting, Heimberger confirmed.

Authorities confirmed that the weapon was an originally deactivated version for use in theatres, which was subsequently reconverted to fire live ammunition. Similarly reactivated weapons were used in the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January 2015 in Paris.

The weapon used in Munich bore a proof mark from Slovakia in 2014. A proof mark is added to the barrel of a gun after a stress test is conducted to ensure it can be fired without damage to the barrel.

The Bavarian interior minister, Joachim Herrmann, confirmed that the gun cost “several hundred euros” and authorities were trying to work out if Sonboly was able to buy the gun with money earned from his paper round, which was his sole income.

Hans Scholzen, a German weapons expert, told the Guardian that similar deactivated weapons can be legally bought for €200 (£167). “But a weapon officially deactivated in Germany cannot be reconverted to fire live ammunition without destroying the gun barrel,” he said. “Thus it must have been deactivated sloppily and in a country that does not monitor such adjustments properly.”

These revelations came as the German interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, raised the possibility of tightening gun control laws in the country.

Thomas Steinkraus-Koch, spokesman for Munich prosecutor’s office, said there was still no evidence of any political motivation to the crime, nor that the shooter targeted specific victims.

A police spokesman confirmed that the suspect spent two months having inpatient psychiatric treatment last year. After leaving hospital, he continued to receive outpatient treatment for social anxiety disorder and depression for which he was receiving medication.

Investigators confirmed the teenager appeared to have attempted to lure his victims to a McDonald’s restaurant, the initial site of the shooting, with a message on a fake Facebook page which promised free meals to anyone at the venue at 4pm.

Police believe this was a venue Sonboly knew and they initially thought he may have recognised his victims, although he did not begin shooting until two hours after the Facebook invitation.


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Hero of Munich: Greek youth, 19, was shot dead after throwing himself in front of the crazed gunman to protect his twin sister during rampage launched by loner after years of bullying — (The Daily Mail)

By Anthony Joseph and Patrick Lion and Abe Hawken and James Dunn For Mailonline

Published: 07:46 GMT, 23 July 2016 | Updated: 09:03 GMT, 24 July 2016

Ali David Sonboly, 18, killed nine people – six men and three women – during his murderous rampage in Munich

  • Terrified shoppers were seen running for their lives from the Olympia Shopping Centre after hearing gunshots
  • The teenager used a Glock 17 semi-automatic handgun to kill the victims – who were aged between 13 and 45
  • Sonboly was wounded by police but he then shot himself dead and his body was found half a mile away
  • He had been bullied for years and owned a book called Why Kids Kill: Inside The Minds of School Shooters
  • Police chief says there was an ‘obvious’ link with Anders Breivik’s massacre exactly five years earlier in Norway

One of the victims of Munich murderer Ali Sonboly was killed when he threw himself in front of the gunman to protect his twin sister from a spray of bullets, it has been reported.

Sonboly, 18, had hacked into a teenage girl’s Facebook account and invited her friends to join her at a McDonald’s in the suburb of Moosach for free food, but he then ambushed them and embarked upon a brutal killing spree with a semi-automatic handgun.

The mentally ill loner, who killed nine in the murderous rampage, is believed to have deliberately targeted young people in revenge for years of bullying.

Seven of the nine he killed were teenagers and the youngest was just 13 years old.

As the first pictures of those killed started to emerge yesterday, it was revealed that one brave victim, Huseyin Dayicik,19, had saved his sister’s life when he was shot twice by the murderer.

Dayicik, a Greek citizen, was at the shopping centre to buy gifts for his family when he was caught up in the horrific scenes.

Some reports suggest that instead of choosing to run, he stayed and pushed his twin sister out of the way of the gunman as he prepared to shoot.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the death of Dayicik – who was from a Muslim community in western Thrace, but was living in Germany with his family – ‘binds us even more to the fight to eradicate hatred and terrorism in Europe’.

Other victims included Dijamant Zabergja, 21, Armela Segashi and her 14-year-old friend Sabina Sulaj, football fanatic Gulliano Kollmann, 18, and 15-year-old Can Leyla.

Police described Sonboly as a ‘deranged loner’ and it is believed he may have been seeking revenge after years of bullying. Classmates said he had very few friends and after a row at school a few months ago, he warned ‘I will kill you all’.

He was ‘obsessed’ with computer games where he would live out his violent fantasies, calling himself names such as ‘God like’ and ‘Psycho’. But he was banned from an online chat room as his behaviour became increasingly threatening and aggressive.

Police raided the killer’s family’s 1,500-euro-a-month flat and discovered Sonboly, whose parents were originally from Iran, had collected piles of documents about ‘spree shootings’ before he carried out the attack.

Friday’s tragedy took place exactly five years after Anders Breivik killed 77 people in a politically-inspired massacre in Norway.

Officers also found Sonboly had a book, Why Kids Kill: Inside The Minds of School Shooters, describing in detail previous school massacres, some of which had haunting similarities to Friday’s attack.

Among those killed was Dijamant Zabergja, 21, whose father informed the world of his tragic death in a heartbreaking post on Facebook today.

He was Kosovan, along with two others – Armela Segashi and Sabina Sulaj – who were killed in the rampage.

Three of the victims are from the same family, all aged between 13 and 15, according to the Bavarian Red Cross.

Police initially believed it was a terrorist attack but Munich chief Hubertus Andrae said Sonboly – whose father works as a taxi driver – had no links to ISIS.

He described him as a ‘classical shooter without any political motivation’.

Sonboly was shot and wounded by a police patrol but managed to get away. He then shot himself dead and his body was found half a mile away from the site of the massacre.

It also emerged the teenager had received ‘psychological treatment’.

He filed the serial number from the Glock 17 and police officers who raided his parents’ apartment also found the killer had several first-person shooter games on his computer.

Sonboly was found with a cache of 300 magazines after stockpiling ammunition and obtaining the gun illegally. Police are still trying to find out how he got the weapon in a country with some of the strictest gun laws in Europe.

Police confirmed the teenager – whose mother works in German department store Karstadt – hacked a young woman’s Facebook account in a bid to lure children to McDonald’s, where he lay in wait.

In the post, he urged youngsters to gather at the specific restaurant on Friday afternoon to take advantage of the special offer.

At around 4.50pm, the black-clad shooter burst from the toilets in the restaurant and began ‘killing the children’ with a pistol, witnesses said.

He then continued his bloody spree in the Olympic Shopping Centre and on the streets around Munich’s Olympic quarter.

Three of his victims were aged just 14, and 27 people were injured. The victims were 13, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 45, but the ages of the rest have not yet been confirmed. Three of those killed were of Turkish origin.

Police confirmed the attacker had dual nationality and had lived in Germany for some time – at least two years, possibly much longer.

He had no qualifications after failing at school and complained he had been bullied by ‘Turkish and Arabic’ classmates.

Stephan Baumanns, who ran a cafe near the killer’s home, said he once employed him as a newspaper delivery boy but he was ‘lazy’ and dumped the free papers nearby.

He told Bild: ‘He was a troubled looking young man, not happy or cool as you expect teenagers to be.’

One teenager described how the online gaming community shunned him for his aggressive manner on a forum called Steam.

‘We kicked him out of the online group over a year ago because he kept threatening us. But he kept inventing new identities to sneak back in,’ he told Bild.

“ In an argument, he said he wanted to carry out a massacre. He said: “I will kill you all””

Girl, 14, who went to same school

German commandos raided the home the attacker shared with his parents in the suburb of Maxvorstadt on Friday night.

Locals there described him as a ‘quiet guy’.

A 14-year-old girl who went to the same school and lived in the same apartment block as Sonboly said he was quite clever but was badly bullied and had few friends.

During a row just a few months ago he had boasted about wanting to kill people in a massacre.

She told the Mail: ‘He was not popular at school, he only had two or three friends that he would hang out with.

‘In an argument, he said he wanted to carry out a massacre. He said: “I will kill you all”.’

The girl said she saw Sonboly in the apartment block around midday on Friday – just hours before the shooting spree.

She said: ‘He was just standing looking down. Usually he would say hello but he did not even look at me as I walked past.’

Reports also suggest the teenager changed his WhatsApp profile picture to that of Breivik, who carried out a bomb and gun attack in and near Oslo on 22 July 2011.

Mr Andrae said there was an ‘obvious’ link between the shocking massacre on Friday and the fifth anniversary of Breivik’s attacks.

Reams of papers found in his apartment revealed he ‘admired’ German spree killer Tim Kretschmer, who killed 15 people at a school in Winnenden, southern Germany, in 2009.

Last night’s massacre has some parallels with the attack carried out by 17-year-old Kretschmer, who opened fire on staff and teachers before carjacking a vehicle and escaping.

Kretschmer, who had also suffered from bullying, also committed suicide.

According to police and clinic staff Kretschmer had been repeatedly treated for clinical depression, but his family said he had never received psychiatric treatment.

Ironically there was evidence Kretschmer himself had studied an earlier school massacre, in Erfurt in April 2002, in which 19-year-old Robert Steinhauser took revenge on his school teacher and former classmates.

He killed 13 teachers, two pupils and a policeman before committing suicide.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday the whole country was mourning with a ‘heavy heart’ following the attack.

She said:  ‘I do thank you for pulling together in the name of the whole German country, now in mourning with a heavy heart for those who will never return to their families.

‘For those families, parents and children, for whom everything will seem empty today, we do share your pain, we think about you, we suffer with you.

‘Our thoughts also go to the several injured. May you quickly and completely recover and you will get all the support you need from us.

‘This night is very difficult for all of us, especially because within recent days we have had sad news such as Nice, where a lorry attacker killed 84 people, then the horrific axe attack on a train near Wurzburg.

‘The severely injured are still suffering and the motives and the background of the man who came to Germany a year ago and was brainwashed by Islamic State will be clarified.’

She went on to praise the German people for standing together in the wake of the attack, and security forces for their reaction.

She added: ‘We have had many messages from abroad to let Germans know that they are by our side. It is good to know that we have many friends when standing against violence.

‘We will also not rest until we know how the attacker in Wurzburg was radicalised. The state will do all it can to protect people in Germany.’

French President Francois Hollande branded the killings a ‘terrorist attack’, despite the lack of any link to terrorist groups.

He said: ‘The terrorist attack that struck Munich killing many people is a disgusting act that aims to foment fear in Germany after other European countries. Germany will resist, it can count on France’s friendship and cooperation.’

Tovero Evo, 32, who lived in the same block of flats as Sonboly, said: ‘He was always by himself, I have never seen him with boys or girls.

‘He’s someone who didn’t talk too much. When I saw him sometimes we would say hello, what’s going on, how was school, how are you feeling, but we didn’t talk too much. Just one minute, small talk.

‘He was always friendly. When I saw this story it’s like two different people. It’s not the same person. I can’t believe this.’

Asked how he feels about having lived in the same block, he said: ‘Evidently bad. To know this guy liv‎ed upstairs, I have family so I’m scared a little bit.

‘My daughter cried yesterday before she went to sleep because she was scared.’

The attack paralysed the southern German city, bringing renewed fears of terrorism to mainland Europe just a week after the Nice atrocity.

A total lockdown of the area was only lifted on Saturday morning when police confirmed the gunman was acting alone and had killed himself in a side street nearby.

Heavily-armed police had raided Sonboly’s apartment on Dachauer Street, which is approximately two miles from where the rampage took place.

Police stormed the fourth floor apartment in the early hours of the morning.

Detectives were investigating footage posted online which showed the gunman talking of being ‘bullied for seven years’.

But just a week after another teenager attacker launched an ISIS-inspired axe attack on a German train, witnesses in McDonald’s described hearing the attacker shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ – or ‘God is Great’ – a cry used by Islamist terrorists during previous attacks.

ISIS supporters took to social media in the hours after the atrocity to celebrate the killings, revelling in the misery of the innocent victims.

Three people remain critically ill following the attack, with 16 others receiving medical treatment. In total, 27 people were hurt.

The outrage began in a busy branch of McDonald’s opposite Munich’s Olympia shopping mall, in the city’s northern Moosach district.

A man, who claimed his son was killed during the attack, was seen holding flowers and a photograph close to where the atrocity took place.

One witness, named only as Loretta, told how she had been in the McDonald’s with her son when the shooting started.

She told CNN: ‘I come out of the toilet and I hear, like an alarm, boom, boom, boom. He’s killing the children. The children were sitting to eat. They can’t run.’

Loretta said she had been in the toilet at the same time as the shooter, with her eight-year-old son. As he started shooting, he yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’, she said.

A local boy, named only as Orhan T, wept as he told how he was on the phone to a young friend when he heard gunshots down the line before the call cut out.

‘We can no longer reach him,’ Orhan said, ‘not even his parents [can]. He’s like my brother.’

Orhan’s father Murat raced to the scene to try and find the youngster. All he found were ‘lifeless bodies’ in McDonald’s and outside a nearby shop, before police cleared him from the area.

After beginning his rampage, the crazed teen burst out of the restaurant and onto Hanauer Street and was captured in shocking footage aiming his pistol at bystanders and unleashing 20 rapid shots. At least one person was killed on the pavement.

The video showed the attached wearing a black t-shirt with a red backpack over it and jeans. He aims at several people just yards from him, including children, and opens fire sending them running for their lives.

He then crossed the road into the sprawling Olympia mall, one of Munich’s biggest, and continued his killing spree inside.

After moving through the building he ended on a carpark roof where onlookers filmed him pacing around, apparently walking with a limp. They yelled insults at him, calling him a ‘w*****’, prompting an astonishing exchange between the gunman and members of the public.

Bystanders call him a ‘w*****’ and an ‘a*******’ – one of the most offensive phrases in the German language.

They accuse him of being ‘mad’ and a ‘Turk’ before using a derogatory term for ‘foreigner’ towards him.

This sparked the gunman to reply: ‘I am a German.’ The bystander, who became known as ‘balcony man’ online, insisted: ‘You’re a w*****.’

The gunman claimed to have been born in Munich and brought up in a tough working class area on benefits. He ends the discussion by firing a shot towards those taunting him, sending them diving for cover.

As the first confused reports began to filter out of the area, police believed up to three gunmen were involved and were carrying ‘long rifles’ in an echo of Islamist attacks in Mumbai and Paris.

They lost contact with the gunman despite a patrol exchanging fire with him and he was feared to have fled onto the city’s U-Bahn underground network. Over the following minutes, reports of shootings emerged across Munich – all which proved false alarms.

In reality the lone gunman had taken himself to a secluded side road and shot himself dead.

In a late-night press conference, Mr Andrae admitted his officers were only just beginning to answer the questions thrown up by the attack and couldn’t yet rule out terrorism.

He said last night: ‘The question of terrorism or a rampage is tied to motive, and we don’t know the motive.’

The gunman’s body wasn’t discovered until 8.30pm, leaving two-and-a-half tense hours with the city’s transport networks closed and residents put on lockdown and told to stay indoors.

Workers at the Olympia mall remained cowering in their shops and offices for hours after the attack.

One employee said: ‘Many shots were fired, I can’t say how many but it’s been a lot.

‘All the people from outside came streaming into the store and I only saw one person on the ground who was so severely injured that he definitely didn’t survive.

‘We have no further information, we’re just staying in the back in the storage rooms. No police have approached us yet.’

Another worker, Lynn Stein, told CNN: ‘People started running. I went outside as well, more people were running outside. I think I heard more shots. Then it sounded like he went to the parking house next to the mall – several shots there.

‘I saw somebody lying on the floor, presumably dead and there’s a woman over them, crying.’

And witness Luan Zequiri said he was in the mall when the shooting began and ‘there was a really loud scream’.

He said he saw only one attacker, who yelled an anti-foreigner slur and was wearing jack boots and a backpack.

‘I looked in his direction and he shot two people on the stairs,’ Zequiri told n-tv. He said he hid in a shop, then ran outside when the coast was clear and saw bodies of the dead and wounded on the ground.

Up to 100 people witnessed the shooting in the mall, police said, and were eventually safely rescued from the building by armed anti-terrorism officers who swarmed to the scene.

Fears of three attackers were initially raised by witnesses describing a car being driven at high speed from the mall. Three men were cornered by armed police nearby, stripped and searched – but officers later said it was all a false alarm and let them go.

It is thought the men were searched by officers as part of a standard procedure when an suspected terrorist attack has taken place.

As hundreds of police attempted to track the suspect down, Munich’s chief of police Marcus Da Gloria Martins said it was the biggest such operation in Germany for ten years.

‘You must trust your local police,’ he said yesterday evening amid the drama. ‘The Munich police is very well trained. Firearms are a huge problem in this particular incident. We urge people to stay indoors and help us with our work.

‘We’ve managed to evacuate people from inside and hopefully brought everyone to safety. There are people who have been traumatised by this and I can tell you they are in the double figures.’

As the panic rose, local reporter Lena Deutch told the BBC: ‘All of the police forces are at the shopping centre and at the official places in Munich as well.

‘They are trying to close everything down because we do not know where this person who’s been doing the shooting is at the moment.’

An American student who witnessed the aftermath described seeing dozens of people fleeing the attack at the mall.

Thamina Stoll, 22, from Durham, North Carolina, retreated to her grandmother’s flat overlooking the scene and filmed what she saw.

She told MailOnline: ‘From the balcony we were able to witness about 50 people running towards our house seeking shelter. Sirens started to arrive and a helicopter appeared.’

Ms Stoll said the family felt like another family who warned them about the attacks had saved their lives.

‘I feel very lucky because I had been there an hour before and I was just about to return,’ she said.

‘Me and my family – we were saved. We are completely safe but there were still a lot of people running.’

‘God knows what would have happened to us if my family had decided to go that shopping mall half an hour later. We might not be alive now.’

A 32-year-old resident of Riesstraße witnessed an attacker from his flat.

He told Focus magazine: ‘I live right on the Mall. I was actually just leaving to go eat with my mum.

‘But then I heard loud bangs. I watched from the balcony and saw two bodies on the ground outside of the Saturn media store.

‘Then I saw the alleged perpetrator. He ran into the mall. I saw how he ran on the parking deck. He was wearing a pair of dark trousers and a Dark T-Shirt and a red backpack.

‘In his hand he held a weapon that looked like a pistol. He walked around there and screamed that he was German and grew up here.

‘He yelled toward our house facade, that we should stop filming. It is a very large house with many balconies – I’m guessing that at this point, almost all of the inhabitants who were at home were on the balcony and looking.

‘Then he shot two times on the wall of the building. I think then he ran away. I heard even more shots, I don’t know how many. Then, the first police cars arrived, with flashing lights and sirens.’

Another eyewitness told the magazine that she saw children among the dead.

Stefan Meyerhofer, a shop assistant, said: ‘I heard muffled shots. It sounded as if they came from the direction of the centre’s managment.

‘Then all of a sudden more people walked past screaming at our store. I’ve holed up me then with the others who are just in the store, in an office space. We are still here.’

Neighbours of the attacker told German media that he was a ‘quiet guy.’

‘He lived right next to me,’ German newspaper Bild quoted a neighbour as saying.

‘A friend of mine went to school with him and said he was rather a quiet guy. He recognised him from the videos from the scene.’

British nationals in Germany are being advised to comply with instructions from local authorities.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘We are urgently investigating an incident in Munich and stand ready to provide assistance to British Nationals.’

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tweeted: ‘Deeply shocked & saddened by #Munich shootings. My thoughts are w/ the victims, their loved ones & all #Germany at this time.’

German premier Angela Merkel was receiving updates on the situation yesterday and is due to meet officials today to be brief on the latest.

US President Barack Obama pledged support to Germany in the wake of the deadly shooting rampage, as officials said they were working to determine if any American citizens were affected.

Obama, speaking at a meeting with law enforcement officials, said: ‘Our hearts go out to those who may have been injured. It’s still an active situation, and Germany’s one of our closest allies, so we are going to pledge all the support that they may need in dealing with these circumstances.’

The shooting comes just days after a teenage asylum seeker went on the rampage with an axe and a knife on a regional train in Germany, injuring nine people.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that teenager was believed to be a ‘lone wolf’ attacker who appeared to have been ‘inspired’ by the Islamic State group but was not a member of the jihadist network.

Authorities said he shouted ‘Allahu akbar’ three times as he ran through the carriage slashing passengers on the train near the southern city of Wuerzburg.

The attacker is believed to be either Afghan or Pakistani and investigators are still trying to determine his identity.

The train rampage triggered calls by politicians in Bavaria, of which Munich is the capital, to impose an upper limit on the number of refugees coming into the country.

The assailant had arrived as an unaccompanied minor in Germany in June 2015 and had been staying with a foster family in the region of the attack for the last two weeks.

A record 1.1million migrants and refugees were let in to Germany last year, with Syrians making up the largest group followed by Afghans.

In the latest attack in France, 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel used a truck to mow down 84 people, including children, in the Riviera city of Nice last week.

It was the third major attack on French soil in the past 18 months, after the jihadist carnage in Paris in November and the shootings at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in January 2015.

In March, Islamic State-claimed suicide bomb attacks at Brussels airport and a city metro station left 32 people dead.

Meanwhile, in May in Germany, a mentally unstable 27-year-old man carried out a knife attack on a regional train in the south of the country, killing one person and injuring three others.

Back in Munich, the shopping centre is next to the Munich Olympic stadium, where the Palestinian militant group Black September took 11 Israeli athletes hostage and eventually killed them during the 1972 Olympic Games.

And Friday marked the fifth anniversary of the massacre in Oslo, Norway, by far-right extremist Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people, 69 of them at a youth summer camp.