Jehovah’s Witnesses shocked by Hamburg assault, thank police

Jehovah’s Witnesses shocked by Hamburg assault, thank police

Jehovah’s Witnesses shocked by Hamburg assault, thank police

BERLIN (AP) — The Jehovah’s Witnesses expressed shock Saturday over the deadly shooting at one of the group’s halls in Hamburg, Germany, however thanked German authorities for preventing more bloodshed by way of their swift intervention through the assault.

A gunman shot useless six members of the Hamburg congregation and wounded eight others, together with a girl who misplaced her unborn little one, earlier than killing himself late Thursday. The shooting drew widespread condemnation and requires a tightening of Germany’s firearms legal guidelines.

In a press release, the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany confirmed that the person police recognized because the gunman was a former member who left the church voluntarily two years in the past.

“We have no idea the motive for this horrible crime,” it stated. “Like the remainder of the world, we had been shocked and bewildered once we learn (…) that the gunman reportedly bore ‘specific anger’ not simply towards the Jehovah’s Witnesses but additionally towards different non secular teams and his former employer.”

Officers recognized the shooter solely as 35-year-old Philipp F., according to German privateness legal guidelines, and stated that his departure from the church was “apparently not on good phrases.” The investigation into his motives was ongoing.

An internet site registered within the man’s title acknowledged that he grew up in “a strict non secular evangelical family” the Bavaria state city of Kempten.

Police stated Philipp F. had solely legally acquired a gun in December and was visited by officers two months later after an nameless tip recommended that he is likely to be psychologically unfit to personal the weapon and was indignant on the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Officers discovered the person to be cooperative and determined there have been no grounds to remove his weapon, police stated.

In its assertion, The Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany expressed its deep sympathy for the households of the victims and the survivors, and stated its focus was on offering pastoral care to everybody affected by the tragedy.

“On the similar time, our honest thanks go to the police, who undoubtedly prevented much more deaths and accidents as a result of their fast intervention,” it stated.

The Hamburg congregation that was holding a service when the assault occurred at the moment has about 60 members and is one in every of 47 within the port metropolis, which is dwelling to virtually 4,000 denomination members, in response to the assertion.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses declare a worldwide membership of about 8.7 million, with about 170,000 in Germany. The non secular motion was based in the USA within the nineteenth century and is headquartered in Warwick, New York.

Members are known for their evangelistic efforts that embody knocking on doorways and distributing literature in public squares. The denomination’s practices embody a refusal to bear arms, obtain blood transfusions, salute a nationwide flag or take part in secular authorities.

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