The death toll from a shooting spree that authorities are treating as a hate crime in the German city of Hanau on Wednesday night has risen to 11 after the bodies of the suspected gunman and his mother were found at his home early on Thursday morning.
According to German media, the suspect, named only as Tobias R. left a letter and video in which he confessed to the crime and expressed right-wing extremist ideas.
Police sources indicated that, “in all likelihood,” the person found dead at home by special police forces is the suspect behind the mass shooting.
The first attack took place around ten o’clock on Wednesday night, in the historic centre of Hanau, a town of 100,000 inhabitants located 20km east of Frankfurt.
The attacker rang the bell of the Midnight bar, said to cater to mostly Kurdish customers, and went to the smoking area, where he opened fire, killing four men and woman.
Shortly afterwards there was another deadly shooting near the Arena Bar & Café, two kilometers away, in the district of Kesselstadt. According to local media, the shots were fired from a passing car. Police discovered the bodies of the suspect and his mother in an apartment in the same district at around 3 am.
Investigators also found ammunition and magazines in his car, according to local press, adding that the suspect had a hunting license.
“What we know so far is that there is definitely a xenophobic motive. Whether there are claims of responsibility or documents, that’s still being investigated,” Hesse Interior Minister Peter Beuth said.
The threat of far-right terrorism has increasingly worried the German authorities, especially since the murder of the pro-migrant CDU politician Walter Lubke, last June.
On Friday, 12 members of a far-right group, including a police officer, were arrested in connection with a major counterterrorism investigation. They are suspected of having planned large-scale attacks on mosques, mosques, politicians, asylum seekers. In raids that took place in six German federal states, weapons were found as well as material that could be used for the production of so-called unconventional explosive devices (USBV).
Last October, a man armed with explosives and a weapon tried unsuccessfully to access a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle. He later killed two people, a passer-by and a man in a kebab shop, before being arrested and confessing to being motivated by antisemitic beliefs.
In December the German government announced that it was recruiting hundreds of new police and federal agents for internal intelligence as it steps up the fight against right-wing extremists.