Masked man opens fire in Germany movie theater, is shot dead by police

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A gunman took hostages at a cinema in western Germany on Thursday before police shot him dead, a police spokesman told the N-TV television channel, adding that no other people were injured.

Not ideal, but that’s a much happier ending than it could have been.

I’d’ve preferred that no one had to die, but if this couldn’t be ended without loss of life, then better the hostage-taker die, as opposed to the hostages or the police.

That said…

Where does either story say he “opened fire?”

I see “Es soll vier Schüsse gegeben haben” in the article, but I don’t know German (and Google’s translation does not English); does that say that the gunman fired four shots, or that police fired four shots at the gunman? I don’t see anything else in either article that indicates that the gunman fired at all.


BBC Article has the basics.

“The caller heard four shots and said that the masked man appeared a little mentally unstable. Police special forces were called.”

“The police thought that the gunman was holding hostages and because of that he was shot dead.”

Mr Beuth said no-one else had been hurt… However, reports said some people were suffering the effects of tear gas released as police stormed the complex.

Strikes me as a pretty good example of how “good guys with guns” are supposed to work, and from a country with “among the strictest gun control in the world.”





I just had a look at the SĂĽddeutsche Zeitung and the Tagesschau. Both report that witnesses heard four shots, that the suspect was shot and killed by police, and that other some tear gas no one was hurt. Neither could say if the suspect had an actual firearm, nor did the police release the identity of the suspect.

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I’m a little confused. I thought the “good guys with guns” argument is the (absurd) claim that if a mass shooter is in action, having ordinary people around who could “take him out” with their own guns is a good idea. “More guns, less killing,” etc.


Police PR woman just gave an interview. Her explanation was kind of convoluted, difficult to translate. Apparently when the SEK (SWAT) encountered the masked man with the hostages he created a “threatening Situation” (Bedrohungssituation) and that’s why they had to shoot him. So they didn’t shoot him just for having hostages - somehow he made it worse, possibly by opening fire or something.

I mean to say it’s a pretty good counterexample. If anyone makes that absurd claim you can point out that some places manage to regulate guns but still keep the good guys with guns. They are called the police and they seem to do an OK job.


Yeah, both BB’s title as well as the tags are inaccurate, to say the least. The weapon had no live ammunition, as it seems. He did not open fire at anyone in the room but only shot at the ceiling. No one other than the perpetrator was wounded. This was not a mass shooting in any sense of the word, contrary to what the tags say.


Thanks god he could not stop a few minutes in a Walmart-or-the-like and buy a couple of assault rifles with matching ammo.


I know, rite? Who in their right minds would allow such a thing?


Um, I do know German. And the Bild article clearly says “Mit einer Langwaffe feuert er viermal in die Luft”, which unambiguously says that the shooter shot four times into the air. A Langwaffe is not-a-handgun, y’know the kind of gun that you brace against your shoulder. It means “long weapon”.



The link to the Bild article didn’t get transferred over into the Comments, so I didn’t even see that as a link.

Why is it “absurd” that someone could stop an armed criminal? The view that in some situations an armed civilian can stop a shooter is not the same as advocating that everyone always be armed. Of course, it is harder to quantify crimes prevented. And it does not have to be a totally untrained person. How about off duty police or experienced combat veterans?

It seems to me like it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you decide that no gunman can ever be stopped by a concealed permit holder, then follow that up with never reporting on such cases, you have not actually changed the facts, but used stalinesque tactics to alter public perception of the truth.

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You should read my comment again, without glossing over the bit about “ordinary people.”

If someone gets firearm training, do they still count as “ordinary”? Granted, I am pretty skeptical of the minimum standards of training that some people receive to get a firearms permit. But there seem to be two extreme views; the view that armed citizens are always the answer, or that they are never the answer, and always just make things worse. Both views are belief-based, instead of being based in reality.


On second thought, I really do not mean to be confrontational.


Yes, to me they still do count as ordinary, because they’re not backed up by further police forces. One lone gunner in a crowded melee trying to take out another gunner is not a situation that would I bet on as a way to reduce killings. The opposite seems more likely to me. So, I don’t think that armed citizens always make things worse; I just think they make a worse outcome more likely.

No problem, I didn’t feel confronted (nor affronted).

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Yeah, but it was a “Schreckschusswaffe”, meaning a gun that can only fire blank rounds. Anyway, the sources that were available when BB published the post only reported four shots having been heard. It was only clear later that they had actually been fired by him and not by the police.
Apart from that, the Bild is about as trustworthy as the Daily Mail, I would be very hesitant top cite that as a reliable source…

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The main problem with the “armed civilian stops shooter” scenario is that the shooter doesn’t need to care who or what they hit while the “armed civilian”, especially in such a high-stress situation, is just as likely to injure or kill other innocent bystanders who happen to be near or behind the shooter (possibly, depending on the sort of weapon and ammunition in use, with furniture or dry wall in between). Also when the SWAT team comes in during the shootout I wouldn’t want to be the “armed civilian” because they’re likely to shoot anyone with a visible weapon and ask questions later (if at all).

There’s a huge difference between shooting at paper targets at the range and shooting at real people, especially if they’re shooting back at you. That difference becomes even larger if the person you want to hit is surrounded by other people that you don’t want to hit. Military-style hostage-rescue teams spend unbelievable amounts of time training to ensure they don’t hit each other (or for that matter the hostages) in such a scenario, and that sort of training requires constant practice to keep your skills up.

I wouldn’t want to bet on “off duty police” or “experienced combat veterans” pulling a daring rescue because the latter were usually trained for different situations and may have lost their edge while the former probably didn’t have an edge in the first place because (ordinary) police officers generally don’t get the same kind of marksmanship training to begin with.