Germany shooting: Gunman kills 9 at Hanau shisha bars

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5:14 p.m. ET, February 20, 2020

What we know about the attack in Hanau, Germany

 People hold hands during a vigil at the Brandenburg Gate to commemorate the victims of the Hanau shootings on Feb. 20 in Berlin.
 People hold hands during a vigil at the Brandenburg Gate to commemorate the victims of the Hanau shootings on Feb. 20 in Berlin. Emmanuele Contini/Getty Images

A gunman killed nine people at two shisha bars in the German city of Hanau on Wednesday. The suspect and his mother were later found dead in his apartment with gunshot wounds.

  • About the attacker: Authorities believe the suspected gunman, 43, didn't have a criminal record, but he did have an extremist background.
  • Latest in string of far-right attacks: German Chancellor Angela Merkel canceled a planned trip to the city of Halle in the wake of the attack — the third far-right shooting in a year. She described racism as a "poison" in German society.
  • The victims: The age of the victims are between 21 and 44, with foreign and German nationals among the dead.
  • Germany's president mourns: President Frank-Walter Steinmeier says he is “horrified” by the terrorist attack, adding that he stands with “all people who are threatened by racist hatred." “You are not alone,” he said in a statement.
  • Parliament suspended: The president of the German state of Hesse, Volker Bouffier, said the regional parliament will suspend all sessions Thursday following the attack. “Today is a day of mourning," he said.
  • YouTube account: YouTube has confirmed it shut down the account of a man named Tobias Rathjen on Thursday morning. Before Rathjen’s account was shut down, CNN viewed the material which had been posted online. The most recent video was uploaded on Feb. 14 and provides a link to his personal website containing xenophobic views, which has also been taken down. 

12:35 p.m. ET, February 20, 2020

Vigil in Hanau turns into anti-racist protest

A man holds a poster reading "Internet kills - stop hate and racism at Google, Facebook, Twitter etc" during a vigil in solidarity with the Hanau shooting victims and their families, in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Thursday, February 20, a day after at least nine people were killed in two shootings.
A man holds a poster reading "Internet kills - stop hate and racism at Google, Facebook, Twitter etc" during a vigil in solidarity with the Hanau shooting victims and their families, in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Thursday, February 20, a day after at least nine people were killed in two shootings. Credit: David Gannon/AFP/Getty Images

Some people attending the vigil for the victims of the terrorist attack in Hanau on Thursday evening came with signs denouncing racisms and xenophobia.

The Federal Prosecutor's Office said the suspected shooter had published a racist "manifesto" of sorts on his personal website. The shooting was Germany's third deadly attack linked to right-wing extremism in a year.

Five of the nine people shot dead at two shisha bars in the city were Turkish citizens, according to Turkey's ambassador to Berlin.

A man holds a poster reading "Disarm fascists" during the vigil at Brandenburg Gate.
A man holds a poster reading "Disarm fascists" during the vigil at Brandenburg Gate. Credit: David Gannon/AFP/Getty Images

12:04 p.m. ET, February 20, 2020

Number of vigils and protests scheduled across Germany

At least 70 vigils and anti-racism protests of varying sizes have been scheduled for Thursday evening across Germany, according to a list widely circulated on social media.

Various groups, including political parties, city administrations and NGOs, as well as individuals are organizing the events that will take place in Berlin, Frankfurt, Dresden, Dortmund, Munich and many other German cities.

11:38 a.m. ET, February 20, 2020

YouTube removes account of the suspect

From CNN’s Simon Cullen, Duarte Mendonca, Martin Goillandeau in London 

A screengrab from an online video of suspect Tobias Rathjen.
A screengrab from an online video of suspect Tobias Rathjen. Credit: Getty Images

YouTube has confirmed it shut down the account of a man named Tobias Rathjen on Thursday morning, following Wednesday night’s attack in the German city of Hanau.

Police named Tobias R. as the Hanau shooter, along with his birthdate and place of birth. Those details match what Tobias Rathjen published on his website.  

YouTube told CNN that it was committed to ensuring that any content that “promotes terrorism or violent extremism” is removed. 

YouTube called the attack in Hanau “a horrific instance” and said its systems worked as intended and that its response protocol had been effective.

Before Rathjen’s account was shut down, CNN viewed the material which had been posted online. The most recent video was uploaded on February 14 and provides a link to his personal website containing xenophobic views, which has also been taken down. 

Rathjen left a letter on his website, seen by CNN, that included deeply xenophobic and racist statements. In it, he admitted he had an “aversion” to certain ethnic groups, including Turks, Moroccans, Lebanese and Kurds.

11:20 a.m. ET, February 20, 2020

German soccer legend shares his shock over the attack in his hometown

From Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Rudi Völler pictured at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig, Germany, in April 2017.
Rudi Völler pictured at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig, Germany, in April 2017. Credit: Hendrik Schmidt/picture alliance/Getty Images

Rudi Völler, the former manager of Germany's national soccer team, has spoken of the shock he felt about the attack in his home town of Hanau.

Völler himself played for the German national team in 90 games, including the final of the 1990 World Cup won by West Germany. He is now the director of Bayer Leverkusen

Völler said on Twitter:

With horror and dismay I received the news of the hideous act in my hometown. The dismay is great. My sympathy goes out to the families and relatives of the victims.

He added that "everything indicated that it was a racist act.''

"In my opinion, it is always important to raise the flags on this issue. Hatred, violence and racism have no place in our midst."

A minute's silence will be held before the kickoff of Bayer Leverkusen's game with FC Porto on Thursday evening. The players of both teams will wear black ribbons to commemorate the attacks' victims, the club said in a statement.

10:54 a.m. ET, February 20, 2020

A vigil for the Hanau victims has been called for tonight

A woman places a candle at a makeshift victims' memorial near the scene of one of the shootings in Hanau.
A woman places a candle at a makeshift victims' memorial near the scene of one of the shootings in Hanau. Credit: Martin Meissner/AP

Hanau's mayor Claus Kaminsky is organizing a public vigil for the victims of the terror attack at the city's market square on Thursday evening. He called on people to "stand together for Hanau."

Kaminsky also announced that carnival parades planned for the weekend will be cancelled, saying celebrations would not be appropriate at the time of mourning.

Locals have been bringing flowers and candles to the site of the attack. Flags were flying at at half mast at the Bundestag building in Berlin.

Germany's flag flies at half mast atop the Bundestag in Berlin on Thursday.
Germany's flag flies at half mast atop the Bundestag in Berlin on Thursday. Credit: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

2:53 p.m. ET, February 20, 2020

BREAKING: German prosecutor names suspected gunman as Tobias R.

From Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office has named the suspected gunman as Tobias R.

In a statement, the prosecutor’s office said that based on the evidence so far, the 43-year-old shot nine people.

The victims were between the ages of 21 and 44, with foreign and German nationals among the dead.

Once police knew the suspect's identity, special forces searched his apartment where they found his body and that of his 72-year-old mother, the statement said.

The prosecutor’s office said the gunman’s father was “met unharmed” by police. The statement doesn’t detail where he was met or whether he was arrested.

“There are serious indications of a racist background to the crime,” the prosecutor’s office said. “This is evident from the videos apparently made by Tobias R. and documents.”

“At present there is no knowledge of any criminal history or preliminary proceedings with political relevance against him. The other investigations will also focus in particular on whether there are unknown confidants or supporters.”

10:13 a.m. ET, February 20, 2020

Five Turkish citizens killed in attack, says Turkish ambassador

From CNN’s Yusuf Gezer in Istanbul and Hande Atay Alam in Atlanta.

Turkey's Ambassador to Berlin, Ali Kemal Aydin, second from right, gathers with citizens near the scene of the shootings in Hanau, Germany on Thursday.
Turkey's Ambassador to Berlin, Ali Kemal Aydin, second from right, gathers with citizens near the scene of the shootings in Hanau, Germany on Thursday. Credit: Mesut Zeyrek/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Five of the nine people killed at shisha bars in the German city of Hanau on Wednesday were Turkish citizens, according to Turkey's ambassador to Berlin.

The five Turkish citizens "lost their lives during the extreme right-wing terrorist attacks in Germany,” Ambassador Ali Kemal Aydin said, reported Turkey’s state-run Anadolu agency.

German authorities have not yet publicly confirmed the nationalities of the victims.

In total, 11 people died in the shooting spree, including the suspected gunman and his mother.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also tweeted that the "antidote" to such racist attacks "rests with responsible European politicians.”

 

9:56 a.m. ET, February 20, 2020

The suspected gunman posted a "deeply racist" manifesto of sorts online

From Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Police officers stand by the house where the suspect was found dead in Hanau, Germany.
Police officers stand by the house where the suspect was found dead in Hanau, Germany. Credit: Boris Roessler/dpa/AP

On the homepage of the alleged killer's website was a "kind of manifesto," said Federal Prosecutor Dr. Peter Frank, speaking at a press conference Thursday.

The manifesto contained "confused thoughts," "conspiracy theories," and displayed a "deeply racist attitude," added Frank.

"The aim of the investigation will be to find out whether there were or are people in Hanau who knew or supported these attacks," he said.
He added that authorities were clarifying the "contacts of the suspected perpetrator -- both here in Germany and contacts he may have had abroad.''