In the afternoon of Thursday, June 24, 2016, a masked gunman walked into a German theater in Viernheim and took hostages before the police intervened and took control of the situation. According to Hesse Interior Minister Peter Beuth, the man entered the theater minutes after three p.m. Four shots were reported to have been heard and this sprung the police into action. The increase in terrorist attacks in the world has significantly enhanced vigilance and security agencies have put in place measures to curtail such incidents from occurring.
According to a German public TV news bulletin, 25 people were injured in the incident, but it is still not yet clear if the injuries were as a result of gunshots. After the ordeal, the police spokesperson told the media that no one was seriously injured apart from the rifle-wielded man who was shot dead by the police.
The U.S Embassy in Germany spokesperson, Jackie McKenna, said that the officials who have been instructed to look into the matter are reviewing the possibility that teargas caused some of the injuries. Up to now, it is still unclear why the assailant decided to take hostages. Cleverly, the gunman held all the hostages close to him as a way of preventing the police from shooting him. Luckily, nobody was injured when the police took the shot.
The motive for the attack remains unknown, but the police have said that the evidence and information that they have indicates that the incident was not terror-related. The cinema is located in a major shopping center complex referred to as Rhein Neckar Zentrum Viernheim. The complex has over 100 businesses and receives approximately 20,000 visitors daily.
Last year, German paid homage to more than one million refugees from Syria, and this raised concerns that this act of hospitality could lead to penetration of ISIS cells into the country. Before this unfortunate incident, the police had raised an alarm that ISIS could be planning an attack on Germany and urged its citizens to be vigilant at all times and report any suspicious activities to the police.