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Munich pastor prays "don't let fear separate us" after shooting

by Hannah Tooley

Police believe that the gunman who murdered nine people and injured 27 others including children at a German shopping centre was an 18-year-old German-Iranian.

Three people remain in a critical condition after the teenager, who has not been named, opened fire in a McDonald's before rampaging through the nearby Olympia-Einkaufszentrum mall on Friday evening.

Police said the victims killed in the massacre included teenagers and that children among the 16 people injured.

Investigators suspect the youth, who is thought to have lived in the south German city for more than two years, acted alone before killing himself.

They also revealed he used a 9mm pistol and had 300 rounds of ammunition when he went on what they called a "classic shooting rampage".

Named in reports as Ali Sonboly, police said there were indications the gunman had been in psychiatric care and treated for depression.

They confirmed his room in the flat he was living in had been searched and he had no link to Islamic State. 

With parts of the crime scene now cleared and released - they said it was too soon to say as to when the Olympic shopping centre would re-open.

Anitra Kitts, from Peace Church United Methodist in Munich, told Premier her prayer for Munich.

She asked that people "remember we are connected to each other, and don't let fear separate us.

"That there are many more good people from all over the world, I want to pray for that, and that we can hold each other graciously."

She said that she hoped the attacks would not change the attitude towards helping those in need: "We are called as Christians to open up our homes and our hearts to those in need, and that's what I would pray for Germany and for Munich and for all of Europe, to keep opening up our doors."

Anitra Kitts said that people might be questioning God when events like this happen: "We hold a dual citizenship, that we are both in this world, but we also are in God's world.

"God is still at work in this world, God is still at work creating and healing and holding us together."

Ms Kitts told Premier she will not let fear silence their city: "I need to go out and reclaim my home, we're going to ride the buses and the trams and the U-bahns, and we're going to go everywhere and say 'no, it's still okay'."

The head of the Christian charity the Salvation Army has tweeted words of hope that "there will be comfort and hope available from God who creates life after death."

AP Photo/Jens Meyer

Any motive behind the attack currently remains "totally unclear" and investigations will be "running on all cylinders", Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae said.

Christian leader Joyce Meyer has also tweeted "We're praying for you & the world!" following the attack.


The force first received reports of a shots being fired near the north Munich shopping centre at around 5.50pm local time on Friday evening.

The attacker opened fire in the McDonald's on Hanauer Street with a weapon thought to have been a handgun.

From there the suspect moved into the shopping centre where the killed and injured were hit, police said.

Armed units flooded the area, with officers in plain clothes seen running through the mall in search of the gunman.

His body was found in a side street close to the shopping centre at around 9.30pm local time.

In the wake of the hunt police said they believed the teenager had committed suicide, although this remains to be seen.

AP Photo/Sebastian Widmann

The killings come after a 17-year-old Afghan asylum seeker launched an axe and knife attack on passengers on a train in Wuerzburg, southern Germany on Monday.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in which five people were injured.

The teenage axeman, Riaz Khan Ahmadzai, was shot dead by police.

Friday's Munich attack took place eight days after more than 80 lives were lost when a lorry ploughed into crowds watching a Bastille Day firework display in Nice, France.

IS said it was also responsible for the attack by 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel.

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Antia Kitts here:

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