HANAU, Germany (AP) — Eight people were killed in shootings in and outside two hookah lounges in a southwestern German city late Wednesday, and authorities were searching for the perpetrators.
The shootings in Hanau also wounded about five people. Police said a dark vehicle was spotted leaving the location of the first attack about 10 p.m. (2100 GMT), and another shooting was reported at a second site.
Police officers swarmed central Hanau, cordoning off the area of one of the shootings as a helicopter hovered overhead. A car covered in thermal foil also could be seen, with shattered glass next to it. Forensic experts in white overalls collected evidence.
A short police statement gave no information on the identity or nationality of the victims and said a motive was not immediately known.
Police later said shots were fired inside and in front of two hookah lounges, news agency dpa reported. Three people were killed and at least one seriously hurt in central Hanau. At the second site, about 2 1/2 kilometers (1 1/2 miles) away, five people were killed.
Hookah lounges are places where people gather to smoke flavored tobacco from Middle Eastern water pipes.
“This was a terrible evening that will certainly occupy us for a long, long time and we will remember with sadness,” Hanau Mayor Claus Kaminsky told the Bild newspaper. Lawmaker Katja Leikert, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party who represents Hanau in the German parliament, tweeted that it was “a real horror scenario for us all.”
Hanau is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of Frankfurt. It has about 100,000 inhabitants and is in Hesse state.
Police from neighboring Bavaria were deployed to help their local colleagues, dpa reported.
Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.