A gunman believed to have been acting alone killed several people in a Jehovah’s Witness church in the German city of Hamburg, police said, as they focussed their investigation on the motive for the attack.
Police declined to say how many people had been killed but said the gunman was believed to be among the dead.
The Bild newspaper reported that seven people were dead and eight wounded in the shooting at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness in the northern city that is home to Germany’s biggest port.
Earlier, Germany’s DPA news agency, citing a reporter on the scene, said that residents in the city’s northern Alsterdorf district had received warnings on their mobile phones of a “life-threatening situation” and that streets had been sealed off.
Television footage showed dozens of police cars as well as fire engines blocking off streets and some people, wrapped in blankets, being led by emergency service workers into a bus.
Police said they had received a call soon after 9 p.m. (2000 GMT) and officers arrived at the scene to find several people seriously injured and some dead.
Germany has been shaken by a number of shootings in the last few years. In February 2020, a gunman with suspected far-right links shot dead nine people, including migrants from Turkey, in the western town of Hanau before killing himself and his mother.
In October 2019, a gunman killed two people when he opened fire outside a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.
The mayor of Hamburg expressed shock for Thursday’s bloodshed.