Officials say nine people were wounded in Thursday evening’s shooting during a service, including a woman who lost her unborn child. Seven had gunshot wounds. Senior police official Uwe Stockmann said six were still in hospitals on Tuesday and one person’s life was still in danger.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany have said that the man police identified as the gunman was a former member who left the church voluntarily two years ago.
Investigators said last week that his departure from the church was “apparently not on good terms.”
Hamburg prosecutor Arnold Keller said that, so far, investigators have come across nothing that pointed in advance to any plans for a rampage like Thursday’s shooting. They are still looking into a website registered in his name and a self-published book it links to titled “God, Jesus Christ and Satan.”
“In view of the previous history regarding the relationship between Philipp F. and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, it at least can’t be ruled out that Philipp F. acted out of hatred toward this community,” Keller told reporters in Hamburg. “It cannot be said conclusively today whether the motive for the crime is ultimately to be found here.”
Stockmann said everything points to the perpetrator having acted alone, and that there were no indications that he was involved in any network or had far-right views.
The Hamburg congregation that was holding a service when the attack happened currently has about 60 members and is one of 47 in the port city, which is home to almost 4,000 denomination members, according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses claim a worldwide membership of about 8.7 million, with about 170,000 in Germany. The religious movement was founded in the United States in the 19th century and is headquartered in Warwick, New York.