On the evening of Thursday, March 9, 2023, a shooting occurred at the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Kingdom Hall in Hamburg, Germany, resulting in several fatalities and injuries. Police spokesperson, Holger Vehren, confirmed that several people died and several were wounded, with no indication of the severity of injuries. Though German media reports mentioned six or seven dead, this remains unconfirmed. Investigations are ongoing, with the motive behind the crime still unclear.

Details of the Shooting Incident

Police were alerted to the shooting at approximately 9:15 p.m. The shooting reportedly occurred in the Gross Borstel district of Hamburg, Germany’s second-biggest city, and involved one shooter. The police arrived on the scene quickly and discovered people with gunshot wounds on the ground floor. One gunshot was then heard from an upper floor, and a fatally wounded person was discovered upstairs who may have been a shooter. Police did not have to use their firearms.

Eyewitness accounts

Laura Bauch, a nearby resident, heard four periods of shooting and saw a person running from the ground floor to the second floor of the building. Gregor Miesbach, another resident, heard at least 25 shots and filmed a figure entering the building through a window. Shots can then be heard from inside. The figure later apparently emerges from the hall, is seen in the courtyard and then fires more shots inside.

International Implications

Jehovah’s Witnesses is an international church founded in the United States in the 19th century and headquartered in Warwick, New York. It claims a worldwide membership of about 8.7 million, with about 170,000 in Germany. Members of the church are known for their evangelistic efforts, which include knocking on doors and distributing literature in public squares. The denomination’s distinctive practices include a refusal to bear arms, receive blood transfusions, salute a national flag or participate in secular government.

Motive and background

There is currently no information available regarding the motive for the shooting or the event that was underway in the building when the incident occurred. Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher tweeted that the news was “shocking” and offered his sympathy to the victims’ relatives.

This is a developing story, and more information is likely to emerge in the coming hours and days. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Kingdom Hall shooting in Hamburg, Germany, has left several people dead and injured. Investigations are ongoing, and the motive for the crime is still unknown.