The gunman who opened fire inside a Jehovah's Witnesses church in Hamburg, Germany, on Thursday night killing eight people including an unborn child has been identified as Philipp F, a former member of the congregation. Philipp Fusz, 35, or better known as Philip F, was a German citizen and former member of the religious community in Hamburg.
In terrifying grainy video shot from a distance, the gunman could be seen approaching the church's window and firing several shots into the "Kingdom Hall" structure with what appeared to be a semiautomatic pistol before storming inside. Officials confirmed in a press conference on Friday morning that Philipp F was behind the "shooting rampage" that also injured eight other people, four of them seriously.
Hate and Disbelief
Armed cops stormed the church on Thursday night, according to the police, and the suspect was found among the dead. According to officials, the officers did not need to use force. Philipp F, the suspect committed the crime alone and committed suicide before they could get to him.
The victims were at the church for a bible study that started at the Jehovah's Witness church on Thursday at 7 o'clock local time. According to police, cops entered the building less than 10 minutes after receiving the initial reports of an attack.
A police officer said that at least 50 people were reportedly present within the structure at the time of the shooting, and the suspect was found to be in possession of 15 loaded magazines.
Armed police were able to distinguish the suspect from other potential targets when they raided the building, Senator Andy Grote said. Officers saw a man with a gun flee to the floor above, where he committed suicide in a hallway as police chased him.
The minister corroborated the early reports that eight individuals, including the shooter, were shot and died in the attack, along with a seven-month-old unborn child. "Amongst the dead there is an unborn child of seven months that was hit in the mother's womb," he told reporters at the press conference.
Police later confirmed that the mother of the unborn child had survived the shooting.
According to Grote, the gunman was thought to be "running amok," a situation for which police have a predetermined reaction strategy.
Despite Germany's strong privacy regulations, the authorities stated that the shooter was Philipp F. However, they did not provide his surname.
Upset and Agitated
Philipp F is a former member of the congregation who police had been warned about, according to reports. He left the religious community 18 months ago with "ill feelings", Hamburg's head of police Matthias Tresp told a news conference on Friday.
According to Hamburg police head Ralf Martin Meyer, the alleged gunman possessed a firearms license, had a semi-automatic pistol under legal ownership since December, and used nine magazines of ammunition during the assault.
The state prosecutor in Hamburg stated that a terrorist motive had previously been ruled out, and the police head hinted at a possible mental condition during the news conference. The officials stated that the reason is still unknown.
According to a representative for the Hamburg prosecution's office, there was "no indication of a terrorist background" to the attack.
Police had earlier been alerted about Philipp F. An anonymous letter was sent to police in January mentioning that Philipp F might have a mental issue and that he shouldn't have access to guns because he wasn't getting treatment.
He had a sports shooter's license and, according to Tresp, was outraged toward both his former employer and members of the religious community, particularly Jehovah's Witnesses.
In response to the letter, two officers searched his apartment unannounced on February 7 and found a safe containing his semi-automatic weapon. According to the authorities, they did not request a health assessment because they did not notice any indications of mental illness.
He was described as "cooperative" and "happy to give information" at that time.
Philipp F grew in a very pious family in Kempten, in the Allgäu region, according to his website. He received training as a bank clerk after graduating from high school. After completing his business administration studies and several stays abroad, he made his home in Hamburg.
Philipp F identifies as a business consultant on his website and calls himself "multicultural" and "a self-confessed European."
He asserts that he originally relocated to Hamburg in the energy industry.