MUNICH, German authorities said a lone gunman carried out an apparent terrorist attack Friday afternoon at a retail shopping center in downtown Munich.
Gunfire began at the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum mall around 6 p.m. local time Friday. Police were unsure initially how many people were killed and how many were injured, but later said at least nine people had died in the armed assault.
Late Friday, Munich police stated on social media profiles that several others were injured and that a manhunt for those responsible was in full effect. Police also linked to a Facebook Safety Check for people in the area to inform others that they are safe.
Late Friday, police said they believe the attack was carried out by one individual, and that person had committed suicide about a half-mile away from the shooting scene.
Munich police said in a news release earlier Friday that witnesses had reported seeing three gunmen near the mall immediately prior to the shooting. Investigators now believe that was not the case.
Authorities and witnesses said the gunfire began in a fast food restaurant inside the mall, leading police to evacuate the entire complex. Metro rail service was also interrupted due to the manhunt.
President Barack Obama acknowledged the incident Friday afternoon and the White House termed the attack “heinous.”
“Our hearts go out to those who may have been injured,” Obama said at a news conference. “Germany is one of our closest allies. We are going to pledge all the support they may need.”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump also posted similar messages online. Clinton called the attack “horrific” and Trump said, “this cannot continue.”
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the apparent terrorist attack that has claimed innocent lives in Munich,” the White House press office said in a statement. “This heinous act has killed and injured multiple individuals in the heart of one of Europe’s most vibrant cities.
“The resolve of Germany, the United States, and the broader international community will remain unshaken in the face of acts of despicable violence such as this.”
The Olympia-Einkaufszentrum mall is less than 2 miles from the 1972 Munich Summer Olympic Village, where terrorists kidnapped and killed 11 Israeli athletes in a bloody 20-hour siege that made international headlines and threatened to derail the global sporting event.