BERLIN (AP) — Shots were fired inside a building used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in the northern German city of Hamburg on Thursday evening, and an unspecified number of people were killed or wounded, police said.
The shooting took place in the Gross Borstel district, a few kilometers (miles) north of the downtown area of Germany’s second-biggest city.
“We only know that several people died here; several people are wounded, they were taken to hospitals,” police spokesman Holger Vehren said.
He said he had no information on the severity of the injuries suffered by the wounded.
Local media footage showed a big police presence outside the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Kingdom Hall, a modern three-story building.
Vehren said police were alerted to the shooting about 9:15 p.m. and were on the scene quickly. He said that after officers arrived, they heard a shot from an upper floor and found a person upstairs who may have been a shooter. He said police did not have to use their firearms.
Vehren said there was no immediate indication that a shooter was on the run and that it appeared likely that the perpetrator or perpetrators were either in the building or among the dead.
Police had no information on the event that was under way in the building when the shooting took place.
They also had no immediate information on a possible motive. Vehren said that “the background is still completely unclear.”
Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher tweeted that the news was “shocking” and offered his sympathy to the victims’ relatives.