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On Friday, July 22, 2016, there were at least nine people killed at a Munich shopping mall in the midst of a shooting rampage by a man who was originally believed to be a terrorist. Police called it an astute terrorist situation. As many as three suspects were believed to be involved when the shooting first occurred. The Munich authorities tweeted that shots had been fired at a few locations in the city. A massive search began as everyone was advised to stay indoors, and all public transportation was halted. Several people reported capturing the perpetrator on camera with their cell phones. Witnesses reported he was shouting insults at them.
Originally, there were reports of more than one shooter. The city was in chaos as bystanders ran for their lives. An eyewitness who recorded the attack from across the street when gunshots were fired they ran for cover. Police put the South German city on lockdown while they searched the streets for the man who fled the scene after firing several rounds of bullets. A Special Forces border patrol unit was brought in to help police locate this man, but instead, they found a body of an 18-years-old teenage gunman a little over a half a mile away from the shopping mall, and it was apparent he had shot himself. Specialized equipment was used to check to see if the would-be terrorist’s body was booby-trapped. So, the terrorist situation was being investigated in the city of Munich by the police to find out if he did indeed have any relation to ISIS or other terror organizations.
Instead of being a terrorist he was actually a very troubled teenager. The young man performed research and extensively planned his shooting rampage using a semiautomatic weapon. At one point during his rampage, the police were looking for more than one shooter, but after a search of the disturbed teenager’s home, it was clear to them that he had been acting alone with no religious or political motivation. There were papers and books on shooting spree killings, including a book about the reasons students may start a killing spree. According to “CNN” reporter Atika Shubert, nearby residents have said that Ali Sonboly was the name of the teenager who lived there, and the authorities questioned his parents. Although the police have not yet released the assailant’s name, they have reported that he was of Iranian and German nationality.
According to police, who think the disturbed teenager broke into a Facebook account to post a McDonald’s giveaway; this was an order to lure as many people as he could to the restaurant where he began his shooting spree. They are still not able to substantiate if he was actually able to do so. This attack is similar to another attack that happened five years before around the same time in Norway. Although almost 80 people were killed in that 2011 incident, which the target also seemed to be teenagers in Munich. Only two of the victims were not in their teens, it is not clear if they were intended targets of the 18-year-old suspect.
The astute-shooting spree in Munich was not a terrorist situation, but the fault of a deeply disturbed teenager, who attempted to solve his problems with a gun. Violence is a problem all over the world, and police are handling it as best they can. Unfortunately, calling it a war on crime is a double entendre.
Opinion News by Katherine Miller
Edited by Cathy Milne
Al-Jazeera: Munich shooting: 10 killed in shopping centre attack
CNN: Munich shooting: Suspected gunman dead, police tweet
CNN: Munich shooting: attacker researched killings, police say
Top and Feature Image Courtesy of Frank Friedrichs’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License