German synagogue gunman confesses to crime and to an anti-Semitic motive: prosecutors
By Ursula Knapp
KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) – The man accused of killing two in a gun attack near a synagogue in Halle, eastern Germany, has confessed to the crime and to a far-right, anti-Semitic motivation, prosecutors said on Friday.
Prosecutors described how Stephan B., who published a racist and anti-Semitic manifesto and live-streamed the shooting on Wednesday, had shot two bystanders after failing to enter the synagogue.
Only his poor aim and the unreliability of his home-made firearms had saved from injury nine other people he fired upon during his half-hour rampage, federal prosecutors said at their headquarters in the city of Karlsruhe.
The first victim, a passer-by who shouted at him as he tried to shoot his way into the synagogue as the congregation inside celebrated the Jewish religious festival of Yom Kippur, was a woman of 40, they said.
Minutes later, he attacked a nearby kebab restaurant, injuring one who fell to the floor as other staff and customers ran away. Stephan B. returned to his car to fetch another weapon with which he killed the injured man with several more rounds, the prosecutors said.
He missed nine other targets, who included policemen on his trail, because his weapons jammed or through poor aim, they added.
There has been no public comment yet from the suspect’s lawyers.
Investigators earlier seized evidence from the Halle flat he shared with his mother, including the 3D printer with which he is believed to have made the home-made guns he used in his failed attempt to storm the synagogue, magazine Der Spiegel reported.
In his manifesto, packed with references to the gaming and online messageboard communities he seemingly frequented, the 27-year-old outlined plans to attack the synagogue, expressing the hope that he might also kill Muslims and attack mosques.
Stephan B.’s mother told Der Spiegel that her son had experimented with drugs in his early 20s and barely survived the experience, from which he had emerged a different person.
His full name cannot be published under German privacy laws.
(Additional reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Writing by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Alison Williams and Gareth Jones)