A suspected gunman who shot dead at least 10 people in a German town was a far-right eugenicist who called in a manifesto for the extermination of various Muslim-majority countries.
The 43-year-old suspect, named in local media only as Tobias R, killed himself and his mother at his home following the overnight attack at two shisha bars in Hanau, a town close to Frankfurt in the western state of Hesse.
Some of the nine victims at the bars were migrants from Turkey, according to officials. Federal prosecutors said they had taken charge of the case because of indications that the attack had a far-right motive.
Turkey’s ambassador to Germany said five of those killed were Turkish citizens.
The attacker had posted a 24-page manifesto online with conspiracy theories and deeply racist views, the public prosecutor general, Peter Frank, said.
“On the suspected perpetrator’s home page, he had put up video messages and a kind of manifesto that, in addition to obscure thoughts and absurd conspiracy theories, pointed to deeply racist views,” Mr Frank told reporters.
The suspect wrote in the manifesto that he hated foreigners and non-whites, and called for the destruction of a number of countries in north Africa, the Middle East and central Asia.
Peter Neumann, founder of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) at King’s College London, who analysed the German-language document, said that the suspect did not emphasise Islam as a target.
The justification for killing entire populations was made in “explicitly eugenicist terms”, Prof Neumann tweeted, with the suspect claiming falsely that science showed certain races were superior.
(1) The 24 page manifesto is written in excellent German. There are no typos or grammatical mistakes. He indicates that he’s been to university. Based on the timeline, he’s about 50 years old.— Peter R. Neumann (@PeterRNeumann)February 20, 2020
The document contains numerous allusions to antisemitic conspiracy theories, with a section dedicated to the supposed malign influence of Hollywood as well as a “shadow government” controlling the US.
He also identified as an “incel”, and wrote that he had not been in a relationship with a woman, out of choice, for the past 18 years.
In a separate video that hints at the suspect’s state of mind, he talks about mind control, devil worship and secret societies purportedly controlling America.
“The attack carries both similarities and significant differences from the string of far-right terror attacks that have struck western countries over the last year-and-a-half years,” the anti-racism group Hope not Hate said in a statement.
“The shooter released a manifesto online, and expressed clear ideas about race and immigration in line with those previous attackers.”
Overnight, police chased a car, which had been used to leave the scene of one of the shootings, to its owner’s address, where they found the bodies of the man and his mother, Hesse’s interior minister, Peter Beuth, said.
It is believed that the gunman returned home after his rampage and shot himself. Officers said there were no indications that other suspects were involved in the attack.
Germany’s political landscape has been polarised in recent years, with a wave of immigration and a slowing economy helping to fuel support for extremist groups at both ends of the political spectrum.
In October, an antisemitic gunman opened fire outside a German synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, and killed two people as he livestreamed his attack.
Authorities have banned some far-right groups endorsing violence, while the country’s post-war centrist consensus has been undermined by growing support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, notably in the formerly Communist eastern states.