German shooting: Police ID suspected gunman; cities hold vigils, protests

People mourn as they gather at the Marktplatz in Hanau, Germany, on Thursday. Photo by Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE
People mourn as they gather at the Marktplatz in Hanau, Germany, on Thursday. Photo by Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Germany's federal prosecutor on Thursday identified the suspected gunman who attacked two hookah bars, killing nine people, as Tobias R.

Though officials declined to fully identify the suspect, local and international media, including Bild and CNN, determined his full name was Tobias Rathjen based on his age, place of birth and a website and YouTube channel on which he left xenophobic rants.


Authorities said he attacked two hookah bars in Hanau, Germany, late Wednesday and may have been motivated by xenophobia.

The shooting was classified "suspected terroristic act of violence" by regional interior minister Peter Beuth.

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Rathjen's body was later found by authorities at his home, along with that of his mother. Police took his father into custody.

"This was a terrible evening that will certainly occupy us for a long, long time and we will remember with sadness," Hanau Mayor Claus Kaminsky said.

Police said there are "no indications of further perpetrators."

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Hookah bars are popular in Germany, authorities said.

Peter R. Neumann, the founding director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization, said the shooter appeared to have had a hatred for foreigners and non-whites, according to his social accounts. The gunman called for the "extermination" of various Muslim-majority countries in North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia, according to a manifesto authorities believe belonged to him.

"He justifies his call for killing the populations of entire countries in explicitly eugenicist terms, saying that the science proves that certain races are superior," Neumann said.

CNN reported that Rathjen left a message on his personal website saying he felt an "aversion" to specific ethnic groups, including Turks, Moroccans, Lebanese and Kurds. Both his website and YouTube channel were removed from the Internet.

Police said he didn't have a criminal record.

Dozens of cities in Germany, including Hanau, held vigils to memorialize those killed in the attacks. The event in Hanau turned into a protest, with attendees holding signs decrying racism and xenophobia.

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