Hamburg Jehovah's Witness hall attack: What we know so far

Hamburg Jehovah's Witness hall attack: What we know so far

Police in Germany are looking for a motive after eight people were shot in a Jehovah’s Witness hall in Hamburg on Thursday night. The perpetrator is yet to be formally identified. 

Police investigate following Hamburg shooting

At 9pm on Thursday evening in the Groß Borstel neighbourhood of Hamburg, a man entered a Jehovah’s Witness hall and opened fire. Speaking to ntv, two witnesses told the broadcaster that they had heard 12 gunshots. 

Another witness who lives nearby, 23-year-old student Lara Bauch, told the dpa that there were four rounds of shooting with intervals of 20 seconds. Bauch told the dpa that she looked out of her window and saw “a person running hectically from the ground floor to the first floor at the Jehovah’s Witnesses”. 

When police arrived at the scene 15 minutes later they found four people injured, evacuated a group - which included someone who was pregnant -  and heard further shots from elsewhere in the building. A man with fatal injuries, who police believe to be the perpetrator, was found in an upper room of the hall.

Little information about the perpetrator’s identity has been released, though on Friday morning SPIEGEL reported that the shooter was a former Jehovah’s Witness. The police are yet to confirm this claim.

Germany’s politicians respond to Jehovah’s Witness attack

Shortly after the attack, Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the “brutal act of violence” on Twitter and, addressing the victims, said his “thoughts are with them and their loved ones”. Up until 2018, Scholz was the first mayor of Hamburg.

Current Mayor of Hamburg Peter Tschentscher also commented via Twitter, calling the events, “shocking” and saying that he extended his “deepest sympathy to the families of the victims”.

Originating in the United States, Jehovah’s Witnesses is a denomination of Christianity that has been in Germany for over 100 years and today, there are around 175.000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany. Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of the religious groups who were prosecuted and the Nazis, with members of the church being forced to wear a visible purple triangle. 

Thumb image credit: klauscook /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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