Gunman dead after German police storm movie theater

Thursday, June 23, 2016

BERLIN, Germany -- A masked man was shot dead Thursday after entering a movie theater in southwestern Germany with what appeared to be a rifle and taking several hostages, authorities said. No one else was hurt.

German media have reported, however, that some individuals were injured in the incident, possibly from tear gas police deployed when entering the theater.

The armed man entered the Kinopolis movie theater in the early afternoon in the town of Viernheim and apparently fired a gun.

The man held several hostages, police spokeswoman Christiane Kobus said, but she didn't have a precise number.

Officers "successively entered the cinema and were able to locate the man and the people he was holding," Kobus told The Associated Press. "There was a threat situation and the man was then shot dead by a colleague."

Police said that the deployment lasted about three hours. There were no other injuries, Kobus said.

She added that she had no information on the assailant's identity and motives.

Hesse state's interior minister, Peter Beuth, said it wasn't clear whether the weapon was functional. 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.

Nina Reininger, a prosecutor in nearby Darmstadt, said her office was investigating but she has no information so far on the attacker's identity.

New York City police officers are being sent to movie theaters in New York as a precaution, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said today.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.