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9 People Were Killed In Shootings At Two Hookah Bars In Germany In A Suspected Far-Right Terror Attack

Police said the suspect was found dead at his home, alongside the body of his mother.

Last updated on February 20, 2020, at 1:19 p.m. ET

Posted on February 19, 2020, at 8:20 p.m. ET

Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

A man lays candles and flowers in front of one of the hookah bars where the shootings took place.

Nine people were killed in shootings at two hookah bars in a German town Wednesday night in what is being investigated as a suspected far-right terrorist attack.

The shootings began around 10 p.m. local time in Hanau, located just east of Frankfurt, according to police. Gunfire erupted in hookah bars at two locations about a mile and a half apart.

The 43-year-old suspect was found dead at his home on Thursday morning alongside the body of his 72-year-old mother. Both died from gunshot wounds — the gunman's self-inflicted.

In a live televised statement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered condolences for the victims and their families. She said the early indications were the perpetrator was motivated by extreme far-right ideology, and a hatred of foreigners.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Angela Merkel

“Racism is a poison,” Merkel said. "Hate is a poison in our society.”

Germany's federal prosecutor Peter Frank said all nine victims killed in the shootings had immigrant backgrounds.

A spokesperson for Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wrote on Twitter that some of the victims were of Turkish descent.

"I wish God's mercy to our citizens who died in the racist attack last night in Germany, which seemed to be his xenophobic, and urgent healing to the wounded," Ibrahim Kalin wrote. "We expect the German authorities to make the maximum effort to illuminate the incident. Racism is a collective cancer."

Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

One of the bars targeted by the suspect.

Hesse interior minister Peter Beuth earlier told regional lawmakers that a potential far-right motive was being investigated and federal prosecutors had taken over the investigation. Hanau is a town in Hesse, with about 100,000 residents.

German foreign minister Heiko Maas said that the "terrible events in Hanau hurt us all."

"After this cruel night, our thoughts are with the dead, their families and relatives. We hope that the injured will recover soon," he tweeted.

Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

Forensic police at one of the hookah bars where the shootings took place.

German police are reportedly looking at a video the suspect may have posted online days before the attacks. In the video, which has since been taken down but copies of which are still circulating online, a man speaks in accented English about far-right conspiracy theories.

German tabloid Bild said a confessional letter had also been found, and that the suspect had a firearms licence. Germany has strict gun control laws.

Lukas Schulze / Getty Images

Police officers at the scene outside the Midnight hookah bar in Hanau.

Germany has recently been rocked by violence linked to the far right.

Last October a man expressing anti-Semitic views livestreamed an attempt to shoot his way into a synagogue in the city of Halle. He killed two people outside the synagogue before being arrested.

And in June last year, a pro-migrant politician from Merkel's party was murdered by a suspect with a long history of neo-Nazi activity.


A previous version of this article misidentified the capital of Hesse, Germany.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.