Friday 28 October 2016

Shooter obsessed with mass killings 'tried to lure victims on Facebook'

Chancellor Angela Merkel
Chancellor Angela Merkel

Munich gunman Ali David Sonboli was a depression-plagued teenager who avidly read books and articles about mass killings and apparently tried to lure young victims to their deaths through a fake Facebook posting.

Information from witnesses indicated that his hatred of foreigners might have played a role in the mass shooting, even though he was the German-born son of Iranian asylum-seekers.

Most of the dead were youths and all were Munich residents of varied ethnic backgrounds.

Hueseyin Bayri, who witnessed one boy's death, said Sonboli screamed a profanity about foreigners and said "I will kill you all" as he pulled the trigger.

One victim was 45, another 20 and the rest were between 14 and 19. The fact that most were so young added to what Chancellor Angela Merkel called "an evening and night of horror".

Earlier on Friday, Sonboli hacked a Facebook account and sent a message inviting people to come to the mall for a giveaway. A search of his home revealed a trove of literature about mass killings, including a German-language translation of the English book Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters.

Munich residents described scenes of chaos and panic as the shooting began and people ran for cover.

"I was standing on the balcony, smoking. Suddenly I heard shots," said Ferdinand Bozorgzad, who lives in a high-rise next to the Olympic Shopping Centre.

"First I thought someone had thrown some firecrackers. I looked down at the McDonald's and saw someone shooting into the crowd. Then I saw two people lying there."

Franco Augustini, another resident, said his daughter hid in the mall during the attack.

"Next to our flat was a woman who was full of blood," he said. "My wife had a bottle of water. Then we helped to wash her. It was horrible and made me speechless."

Despite Sonboli having no apparent Islamic extremist links, Muslims in Munich were already fearing a backlash.


"I started to get texts from friends asking if I was safe," said Iranian David Akhavan, who works in a Persian restaurant.

"Then, my thoughts were, 'Please, don't be a Muslim. Please, don't be Middle Eastern. Please don't be Afghan. I don't accept this violence."

Munich mayor Dieter Reiter declared a day of mourning for the victims.

"These are difficult hours," he said, adding that residents had shown great solidarity toward each other. "Our city stands united."

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