Hanua City shooting leaves nine dead

At approximately 10 p.m., a shooter opened fire in Hanua City in Germany at a midnight shisha bar, leaving nine dead. The attacker reportedly then traveled 1.5 miles to the next location. Shortly after, the suspect opened fire at the Arena Bar & Cafe west of the center in the Kesselstadt district. 


Later that night, police launched a full manhunt to find the suspect at his home near the Arena Bar & Cafe. Authorities walked into his house to discover him dead alongside his 72-year-old mother. 


German media identified the suspect to be 43-year-old Tobias R. Upon investigation it was found that Tobias had a firearm licence, and was known to have practiced at the gun club twice or three times a week. Authorities said they had found a document on his home page filled with “obscure thoughts and absurd conspiracy theories” that “pointed to deeply racist views,” according to Reuters. 


Authorities have been investigating a video he posted a few days before the shooting, in which he expresses his right wing conspiracy theories. Media also said that he left a letter of confession. 


“What we know so far is that there is definitely a xenophobic motive,” Hesse Interior Minister Peter Beuth said to BBC. “Whether there are claims of responsibility or documents, that’s still being investigated.” 


The victims have not been named, although authorities say that they were all aged 21–44 and included both foreign-born and German citizens. Among the dead were “several victims of Kurdish origin,” said the Kon-Med association of Kurds in Germany. 


Authorities believe there is a clear motive behind the acts, considering the locations the shooter targeted. Shisha bars are places where people gather to smoke tobacco from a hookah pipe. Traditionally, these bars are found in Middle Eastern and Asian countries.


Claus Schmidt, who runs the SV Diana Bergen-Enkheim shooting club that the perpetrator was part of, told Reuters: “He was totally inconspicuous,” he continued, “There was not a hint of racism or hatred toward foreigners, not even an awkward joke. He was always friendly.” 


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken out against the attacks.


“Racism is a poison,” she stated to BBC news.  “Hate is a poison and this poison exists in our society and is already to blame for many crimes.”


In June 2019, Walter Lübcke, president of the Kassel District, was shot in the head in his home. Reports say he was targeted for his open support of Merkel’s open-door policy toward migrants and refugees. Alongside with the recent shooting, German police rounded up 12 right-wing extremists with intentions of attacking a mosque, according to Time.   


“If the suspicion is confirmed, the gruesome act in Hanau is the third extreme right-wing murder attack in Germany in a year,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. “Right-wing terrorism has again become a threat to our country. There is absolutely nothing to put into perspective.”