• Germany's news in English
Munich shooting
Munich attacker was shy video game fan
People laying flowers at the site of the shootings. Photo: DPA.

Munich attacker was shy video game fan

AFP · 23 Jul 2016, 15:27

Published: 23 Jul 2016 15:27 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Police say Sonboly, who committed suicide after killing nine people on Friday, was an 18-year-old German-Iranian student who had battled depression and was not previously known to detectives.

He had 300 bullets in his rucksack when he began gunning people down at the Olympia shopping centre just minutes away from the flat that he shared with his family, according to authorities.

Officials suggested he may have posed as a girl on Facebook and posted information about a fake McDonald's promotion to lure people to the fast-food restaurant where he first opened fire.

Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae told a press conference Saturday that there were "no indications whatsoever" that Sonboly had any links to the Islamic State group or that the killings were motivated by politics.

Andrae did acknowledge that Sonboly had extensively researched the theme of rampages and may have read about the lethal killing spree by white supremacist Anders Behring Breivik, saying there was an "obvious link" between Breivik's crimes and Friday's shooting.

The carnage came on the fifth anniversary of right-wing fanatic Breivik's massacre in Norway that killed 77 people.

Sonboly had reportedly received psychiatric treatment in the past as he battled with depression.

Neighbours say he was born to Iranian parents -- a taxi driver father and a mother who worked at a branch of the Karstadt department store. He also had a brother.

They have yet to be interviewed by police "because of their state -- they also lost their son," said the Munich prosecutor.

The family lived together in a tidy, recently-built social housing block that is mostly home to immigrant families, located next to a luxury Maserati car showroom in the well-heeled Maxvorstadt neighbourhood.

Just 10 minutes' drive away from the mall, the area has been deluged with journalists in the wake of the shooting.

Sedik Ali, a 29-year-old neighbour originally from Afghanistan, remembered Sonboly as a lonely teenager who rarely hung out with the other neighbourhood lads.

"It's strange, but he never spoke with us," said Ali, who regularly played football with the gunman's brother in a nearby park.

Delfye Dalbi, 40, a neighbour originally from Macedonia, described him as "a good person", like many in the area remembering that he had a job distributing free newspapers.

"I know this boy very well -- he always was here to help," she said.

"He would give you the newspaper, he was nice. He was never bitter or angry. I feel so sorry for this family but also for the boy."

She added: "I never heard of him having problems with the police or other neighbours.

"He laughed like a normal person."

But a video posted on social media appeared to cast Sonboly in a different light, showing a man dressed in black walking away from the McDonald's restaurant while firing repeatedly on people as they fled.

Survivors described terrifying scenes as shoppers rushed from the area, some carrying children in their arms.

Another video posted online appeared to show Sonboly on the top floor of a multi-storey car park exchanging a tirade of insults with nearby bystanders.

At one point the gunman appears to mention being a victim of bullying though his words cannot be heard clearly.

"I'm German, I was born here," the assailant is heard to reply after one man reeled off a volley of swear words, including an offensive term for foreigners.

At another point, he says: "I was in hospital."

During the heated exchanges, a bystander on the balcony cries out: "He's got a gun here, the guy has one."

A police source cited by DPA news agency said Sonboly loved playing violent video games.

He was also an admirer of Tim Kretschmer, the 17-year-old German who shot dead 15 people at his school near Stuttgart in 2009 before turning the gun on himself, the source added.

Story continues below…

"All his body language said 'I don't want to talk to you,'" remembered Stephan, a waiter at the trendy Treemans cafe on the ground floor of Sonboly's housing block.

"He wasn't like other guys his age -- cool, full of energy, with the latest haircuts. He seemed calmer. He was a shy boy."

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd