A gunman attempted to enter a German synagogue in the town of Halle on Wednesday, but security measures there stopped him. Then the man went out into the street, killed one person, another in a kebob shop, and seriously wounded two others. The attack took place on the highest holy day of the year for Jews – Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
DEVELOPING: Two are dead in a shooting in the east German city of Halle near a synagogue on Yom Kippur, with one suspect in custody, a search for at least one more person and video showing a man in apparent military gear firing shots in the street. https://t.co/PJWXmlON2I pic.twitter.com/ZX1ExkmgAN
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) October 9, 2019
One gunman was reportedly a 27 year old German citizen. He allegedly announced his attack in a live broadcast on Twitch, a German social media. He called himself a “holocaust denier,” and ranted about Jews being the cause of declining birth rates in the West. As he left the synagogue after being unable to enter, a woman shouted at him. He shot her multiple times in the back.
He allegedly threw a few homemade grenades into a Jewish Cemetery near the synagogue. The perpetrator lobbed a grenade into a kebab shop about 10 miles away as well, then started shooting, killing one person inside. He referred to himself as a “loser” because he was unable to kill more victims.
A spokeswoman for the Halle municipal government said one shooting took place in front of the synagogue on Humboldt street and its accompanying cemetery, while a second burst of gunfire targeted the kebab bistro in the city in the province of Saxony.
Max Privorozki, Halle’s Jewish community chairman, described how a gunman tried to shoot his way into the city’s synagogue.
“We saw via the camera system at our synagogue that a heavily-armed perpetrator with a steel helmet and a gun tried to shoot open our doors,” he told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper. “The man looked like he was from the special forces…But our doors held.”
“We barricaded the doors from inside and waited for the police,” he said, adding that about 70-80 people were inside the Humboldt street synagogue celebrating Yom Kippur.
German counter-terrorism authorities took over the investigation from local police, citing that it was an “important” incident. Police evacuated the synagogue and advised all people in the city to stay home as they investigate.
The Independent reported on the kebab shop attack:
Survivor Conrad Roessler told N-TV: “All the customers next to me ran … I locked myself quietly in this toilet, and wrote to my family that I love them, and waited for something to happen.”
The gunman appeared to have problems with what he called an “improvised weapon” jamming and cursed repeatedly, before shooting a man hiding behind a drinks fridge at point-blank range.
The livestream showed him leaving the takeaway and opening fire at vehicles in the street, before returning to the kebab shop and shooting the same victim several times.
He then stopped his car in the road and appeared to fire randomly over its roof towards motorists, before driving away.
Gunshots were heard in the town of Landsburg at the same time, although police have not confirmed the two shootings are connected. There are two other possible perpetrators, who escaped in a “hijacked” vehicle.
Featured photo: Twitter screenshot