.
.
.
.

Gunman took hostages in German cinema before being shot

A masked man with a gun and ammunition belt opened fire in a cinema complex in the small western German town of Viernheim

Published: Updated:

A masked man was shot dead Thursday after entering a movie theater in southwestern Germany with a weapon and taking several hostages, authorities said. No one else was injured.

An armed man entered the Kinopolis movie theater in the early afternoon in the town of Viernheim and apparently fired a gun, police spokesman Bernd Hochstaedter told n-tv television.

Police shot the suspect dead about three hours later, Hesse Interior Minister Peter Beuth said. The interior minister of the state of Hesse said the attacker appeared to have been a "disturbed man".

Beuth told media that the gunman had a rifle or “long gun”, adding that special forces intervened and shot him.

“We believe that there were no injured people, and that the people who were in the cinema with the perpetrator could be freed uninjured,” he said.

A police spokeswoman at the scene, Christiane Kompus, told The Associated Press that she had no information on the assailant's identity and motives. She said the man had been holding several hostages, but didn't have a precise number.

Beuth said it wasn’t clear whether the weapon was real. He told the regional legislature in Wiesbaden that the man was masked and that apparently four shots were fired.

Beuth said the man had given a confused impression, news agency dpa reported.

German special police leave their cars in this still image taken from video after the masked man with a gun and ammunition belt opened fire in a cinema complex  (Photo: Reuters)
German special police leave their cars in this still image taken from video after the masked man with a gun and ammunition belt opened fire in a cinema complex (Photo: Reuters)
German special police leave their cars after a masked man with a gun and ammunition belt opened fire in a cinema complex in the small western town of Viernheim, near Frankfurt, Germany, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Handout/Rhein-Neckar-Fernsehen
German special police leave their cars after a masked man with a gun and ammunition belt opened fire in a cinema complex in the small western town of Viernheim, near Frankfurt, Germany, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Handout/Rhein-Neckar-Fernsehen

(With AP and Reuters)