Tobias Rathjen, who killed ten people during a mass shooting in the city of Hanau before killing himself, has been revealed as a right-wing extremist who spread conspiracy theories online.
Rathje, who was found dead in his apartment shortly after the mass shooting took place at around 11 pm outside of a Shisha bar on Wednesday, left a 24-page manifesto and recorded several video messages described as containing a “deeply racist outlook”, by Federal Attorney-General Peter Frank.
Nine of the victims had a migration background, five of which were Turkish citizens and four of the five others who were injured in the attack had migration backgrounds as well. The tenth victim was revealed to have been his 72-year-old mother, Bild reports.
Two Killed, One Arrested in Shooting at German Synagogue https://t.co/J43iSRLEqV
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A member of the local rifle club and in possession of a firearms license since 2013, the 43-year-old used a Walther PPQ and a SIG Sauer P226 during the attack, according to the tabloid.
Forensic psychiatrist Nahlah Saimeh has claimed that Rathje showed evidence of “serious mental illness” after examining his manifesto and noted that he may have suffered from “paranoid-hallucinatory schizophrenia” as he claimed to heard voices in his head.
German mainstream politicians have described the mass shootings as a right-wing extremist terrorist attack including German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said: “Here is currently a lot of evidence that the perpetrator acted from right-wing extremist, racist motives. Hatred of people of different origins, beliefs or looks.”
“Racism is a poison, hate is a poison. This poison exists in our society and it is to blame for far too many crimes. From the NSU’s misdeeds to the murder of Walter Lübcke to the murders of Halle,” Ms Merkel added.
Norbert Röttgen, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), meanwhile, blamed the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) for the massacre, claiming they were partially responsible.
He was joined by Konstantin Kuhle, a Free Democrat politician, who said: “The AfD shares responsibility for the climate of hatred and racism in Germany.”
AfD MP Beatrix von Storch condemned the attacker on Twitter, saying: “According to the manifesto, this psychotic gunman believed that ‘secret organisations’ could ‘read minds’ and speak to him in a dream. This act of madness fills us with anger and loathing.”
Top Merkel Party MP: Strip Right-wing 'Extremists' of Free Speech, Free Assembly https://t.co/BiwYgmf6lX
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The massacre comes just months after an attempted massacre of a synagogue in the city of Halle which saw 27-year-old right-wing extremist Stephan Balliet shoot two people dead with homemade firearms after failing to break into the local synagogue.
The killing of CDU member Walter Lübcke was also linked to far-right extremism and led to CDU former General-Secretary Peter Tauber to also blame the AfD and recommend the government strip all right-wing extremists of their freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.