Police Investigate Possible Far-Right, ‘Child Abuse’ Conspiracy Motive Behind Germany Attack That Killed 11

Blue police lights flash to illuminate a house where special police forces attend the scene in Hanau, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. Several people were killed at locations when shots were fired in Hanau late Wednesday, with the suspect and another person found dead at his home afterwards.(AP Photo/Michael Probst)
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HANAU, Germany (AP) – Federal prosecutors said Thursday they are taking charge of the investigating into a mass shooting in the German city of Hanau that left 11 people dead, including the suspect, amid reports that he may have had a far-right motive.

The Federal Prosecutors Office in Karlsruhe, which handles serious crimes, said it planned to hold a news conference later Thursday.

German news agency dpa reported that police are examining a video the suspect may have posted online several days earlier in which he details a conspiracy theory about child abuse in the United States. The authenticity of the video couldn’t immediately be verified.

Nine people were killed at two hookah bars overnight. Police later said they found the bodies of the suspected shooter and another person at a house not far from the second bar.

A spokesman for Hanau prosecutors, Markus Jung, confirmed the death toll but declined to comment on the reported video, or provide details of the suspect or victims.

“We don’t believe there were further attackers,” Jung told The Associated Press

Officers sealed off and searched the apartment in Hanau’s Kesselstadt district, near the scene of one of the shootings, after following up witness statements on a getaway car. Police said work to confirm the identities of the two bodies at the home was still underway, and they couldn’t immediately give details either on them or the identities of the victims of the earlier shootings.

“Thoughts this morning are with the people of Hanau, in whose midst this terrible crime was committed,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said on Twitter.

“Deep sympathy for the affected families, who are grieving for their dead,” the spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said. “We hope with those wounded that they will soon recover.”

Earlier Thursday, police said that eight people were killed and around five wounded. They said a dark vehicle was seen leaving the location of the first attack and another shooting was reported at a scene about 2 1/2 kilometers (1 1/2 miles) away.

Police officers swarmed central Hanau, cordoning off the area of one of the shootings as a helicopter hovered overhead. A car covered in thermal foil also could be seen, with shattered glass next to it. Forensic experts in white overalls collected evidence.

Hookah lounges are places where people gather to smoke flavored tobacco from Middle Eastern water pipes.

“This was a terrible evening that will certainly occupy us for a long, long time and we will remember with sadness,” Hanau Mayor Claus Kaminsky told the Bild newspaper. Lawmaker Katja Leikert, a member of Merkel’s center-right party who represents Hanau in the German parliament, tweeted that it was “a real horror scenario for us all.”

Hanau is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of Frankfurt. It has about 100,000 inhabitants and is in Hesse state.

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