German special forces have shot a man dead who stormed a cinema in Viernheim, near Frankfurt.
FRANKFURT (Germany) — A masked, armed assailant attacked a multiplex movie theater in the German city of Viernheim on Thursday and took hostages before he was killed by german special police units that stormed the building, officials and local news media reported.
Despite initial reports that up to 25 people had been hurt in the mayhem, Peter Beuth, the interior minister for the state of Hesse, said he had no information that anyone had been harmed.
German television showed pictures of heavily armed police, wearing helmets and body armor, storming the Kinopolis complex in Viernheim and a couple fleeing the building.
German media said earlier that the masked man had opened fire at the cinema complex in the small town near Frankfurt.
Police from nearby Darmstadt said there is no evidence of an Islamist background behind the attack.
Security officials told DPA that they do not currently suspect that there was a terrorist motive, and that the man was psychologically disturbed.
Lars Henneman, editor-in-chief of the Darmstadter Echo, who had a reporter on the ground, told the BBC that the gunman was in a “state of confusion.”
Police spokesman Bernd Hochstaedter said authorities were told early Thursday afternoon that an armed man had entered the Kinopolis movie theater and that shots apparently had been fired. He confirmed that police shot the man dead after elite forces stormed the cinema complex, adding that all the hostages were released.
Hesse’s interior minister said it wasn’t clear whether the perpetrator’s weapon was real.
“We have no information that anyone was injured,” Hesse state interior minister Peter Beuth said.
“The assailant moved through the cinema complex, according to the information we have now, and appeared confused.”
“There were hostages inside and there was a struggle (with police) until in the end he was dead.”