German Police: Hanau Mass Shooting Not Linked to Far-Right Extremist Motive

Mourners hold up photos, believed to be of vicitims, during a vigil close to a crime scene in Hanau, near Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on February 20, 2020, after at least nine people were killed in two shootings late on February 19, 2020. - The suspect in two shootings …

The German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has declared that the Hanau mass shooter Tobias Rathjen was not motivated by far-right or racist politics when he shot nine people in February.

Rathjen was labelled a “far-right extremist” and his attack was called a “racist shooting rampage” in February, but according to German investigators, neither racism nor far-right politics lay behind the motive for the attack.

The reason for the mass shooting, according to German tabloid Bild, was Rathjen’s beliefs in a conspiracy theory in which he was being monitored by a secret spy agency.

According to the paper, he chose migrant-background victims at a shisha bar in order to get the maximum attention to his own conspiracy theories.

Federal Attorney-General Peter Frank had initially claimed that there was “serious evidence for a racist background” for the attack but the Federal Criminal Police Office later went on to commission the BKA to produce further investigations which countered Frank’s initial claims.

Rathjen’s attack took place on the evening of February 19th and saw him not only shoot nine people, all of them with a migrant background, but also murder his own mother before taking his own life in his apartment building where he was later found by police.

While the manifesto released by Rathjen had contained elements of racism, with Attorney General Frank claiming it had a “deeply racist outlook”, others highlighted potential mental illness in the case.

Forensic psychiatrist Nahlah Saimeh spoke out about potential mental issue Rathjen may have had, saying he may have suffered from “paranoid-hallucinatory schizophrenia”.

Many politicians chose to lay the blame for the attack on the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) such as Free Democrat (FDP) politician Konstantin Kuhle who said: “The AfD shares responsibility for the climate of hatred and racism in Germany.”

Tino Chrupalla, the chairman of the AfD, commented on the BKA findings on Monday, stating: “The BKA has not allowed itself to be put under pressure by the media and politics and has now announced the results of its investigations.”

Chrupalla added that blaming the AfD for the murders was “shabby” and called on the mainstream media and other political parties to consider “self-reflection”.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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