Police speak of "acute state of terror" in Munich shooting spree

Police spoke of an "acute state of terror" in Munich Friday after several people were killed and several others injured in a shooting at the Olympia shopping centre in Munich.

"We are expecting several dead," a police spokesman said. However, the exact number of victims remained unclear as did the motives of the shooters.

The authorities were looking for three suspects with long guns.

"Witnesses have reported three different people holding guns," they said on Facebook earlier.

Munich has declared a special state in the city, asking residents not to leave their houses.

The city's central train station was evacuated for a police operation and public transportation has been brought to a halt.

"Train service has been completely shut down," said German train operator Deutsche Bahn.

Trains from all directions around the Bavarian capital were stopped before they could enter the city.

Additionally, local city transportation via underground, tram and bus were also suspended after police ordered public transportation to be stopped, the local public transportation operator MVG said.

The situation in Munich was still unclear after the shooting, police said.

"We are trying to get the situation under control. We don't know where the perpetrators are," Thomas Baumann, the deputy spokesman of the Munich police department told dpa.

The shooting started at 5:52 pm (1552 GMT) at a fast-food restaurant in the shopping centre, according to Baumann.

Police cordoned off the area near Munich's Olympic Park as officers rushed to the scene from all over the city. Police and emergency vehicles could be seen outside the shopping centre. Helicopters were flying over the city.

Hospitals in Munich had called in additional staff to be on stand-by, the spokesman for the Grosshadern university hospital, Philipp Kressirer, told dpa. He was not able to say if any injured had been taken to hospital yet or how many there might have been.

On Twitter police asked residents to stay indoors and avoid public places.

Heavily-armed police also rushed to the city centre, where a panic had broken out and people ran from the pedestrian area to the central Karlsplatz, also known as Stachus.

There had been a false alarm, police said, but authorities still weren't sure what the situation was in the city centre.

Meanwhile, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann was on his way to the capital of the southern German state.

The Olympia shopping centre was opened in 1972 when Munich hosted the Summer Olympics. It is located in the middle of a residential area, two underground stops away from the Olympic stadium.

Last update: Fri, 22/07/2016 - 21:24

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