UPDATE: What could have been a horrific attack has been thwarted. Initial reports said an armed man opened fire inside a movie theater in Viernheim in Western Germany, with many casualties.
We now know the casualties were caused by tear gas, not gunshot wounds.
The BBC reports,
A masked man who reportedly fired shots in a cinema complex in western Germany has been shot dead by police, the state’s interior minister has said.
Peter Beuth told the state of Hessen’s parliament that police stormed the Kinopolis complex in Viernheim, near Frankfurt, after shots were reported.
“The police thought that the gunman was holding hostages and because of that he was shot dead,” he added.
At least 20 people are said to have been hurt.
Most were apparently suffering the effects of tear gas released as police stormed the complex. It is not clear whether anyone was wounded by the attacker.
Heavily armed police surrounded the complex after the incident began.
No word yet on the identity or motive of the shooter. Of course, given events in Paris and Brussels — as well as myriad thwarted plots, including in Germany — terrorism immediately comes to mind as a possible motive.
This mass shooting comes amid furor here in the United States about increased gun control. However, it appears that Germany’s strict gun control laws didn’t prevent this event from happening.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all involved. We’ll keep you updated as we know more.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]