Gunman takes hostages in German cinema, shot dead by police

An unidentified gunman with an unknown motive has been killed after taken hostages in a cinema in western Germany.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

German police walks past a cinema complex after a masked man with a gun and ammunition belt opened fire in the small western town of Viernheim, near Frankfurt, Germany, June 23, 2016

A gunman on Thursday took dozens of hostages at a cinema in western Germany before being shot dead by the police.

Heavily armed police wearing helmets and body armour stormed the cinema in the western town of Viernheim, 75 kilometres south of FrankfurtNo one was injured. 

"The assailant moved through the cinema complex... and appeared confused," the interior minister of Hesse state, Peter Beuth, said.

"There were hostages inside and there was a struggle (with police) until in the end he was dead."

Beuth added: "We have no information that anyone (among the cinema-goers) was injured."

Security sources quoted by German news agency DPA said there was "no link to terrorism." The shooter was described as “disturbed.”

Authorities said the motive behind the attack is unknown, while the attacker is yet to be identified.

Following deadly attacks in cities including Paris, Brussels and Istanbul, the German police forces had been put on high security alert.

Mass shootings are relatively rare in Germany where gun ownership is prevalent but firearm sales and storage are subject to strict regulation.

TRTWorld, Reuters