#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 9°C Monday 27 September 2021

Munich attacker was "shy video game fan" with "obvious links" to Anders Breivik

18-year-old killer David Ali Sonboly had battled depression and was not previously known to the police.

Germany Munich Shooting A girl lays flowers outside the Olympia shopping centre today Source: Sebastian Widmann

Updated 14.56

A QUIET HELPFUL teenager who loved playing video games: neighbours of David Ali Sonboly say there were no warning signs before his deadly rampage at a Munich shopping mall.

Police say Sonboly, who committed suicide after killing nine people yesterday, was an 18-year-old German-Iranian student who had battled depression and was not previously known to detectives.

He had 300 bullets in his rucksack when he began gunning people down at the Olympia shopping centre just minutes away from the flat that he shared with his family, according to authorities.

Officials suggested he may have posed as a girl on Facebook and posted information about a fake McDonald’s promotion to lure people to the fast-food restaurant where he first opened fire.

Neighbours say he was born to Iranian parents – a taxi driver father and a mother who worked at a branch of the Karstadt department store. He also had a brother.

They have yet to be interviewed by police “because of their state – they also lost their son,” said the Munich prosecutor.

The family lived together in a tidy, recently-built social housing block that is mostly home to immigrant families, located next to a luxury Maserati car showroom in the well-heeled Maxvorstadt neighbourhood.

Germany Munich Shooting Police stand guard outside the McDonald's where Sonboly's rampage began Source: Sebastian Widmann

Sedik Ali, a 29-year-old neighbour originally from Afghanistan, remembered Sonboly as a lonely teenager who rarely hung out with the other neighbourhood lads.

“It’s strange, but he never spoke with us,” said Ali, who regularly played football with the gunman’s brother in a nearby park.

Delfye Dalbi, 40, a neighbour originally from Macedonia, described him as “a good person”, like many in the area remembering that he had a job distributing free newspapers.

“I know this boy very well – he always was here to help,” she said.

He would give you the newspaper, he was nice. He was never bitter or angry. I feel so sorry for this family but also for the boy.

Germany Munich Shooting Police officers stand in front of flowers laid outside the mall where the shooting took place Source: Kerstin Joensson

Psychiatric care

Earlier it emerged that Sonboly had been receiving psychiatric care and had no connections with Islamic State.

At a press conference in the German city, police president Hubertus Andrae said that following intensive investigation the police had concluded that there are “no indications” the teenage gunman had any connections with Isis.

He added that there is no suggestion that the killings had anything to do with the refugee crisis, and rather that the killer seemed to be focussed on killing teenagers.

It emerged at the press conference that seven of the shooting victims were teenagers.

The incident bore all the hallmarks of a “classic gun rampage” police said, and not those of a terrorist action.

The gunman had been undergoing psychiatric and medical care. He was armed with an unlicenced Glock pistol and had 300 rounds on his person. Following an investigation of the teenage boy’s home a number of books and documents relating to spree shootings were discovered.

The extensive research Sonboly had done into spree killings, in particular the murder of 77 people by Anders Breivik in Norway five years ago, suggested an “obvious link” between his crimes and that of Breivik said Andrae.

Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of Breivik’s rampage.

It was also claimed that the German police had not hit the killer with any bullets, and that his wound was self inflicted.

In addition to the nine deaths 27 people were injured in the shooting, 10 of them severely.


The third attack on civilians in Europe in barely a week sent panicked shoppers fleeing the Olympia mall as elite police launched a massive operation to track down what had initially been thought to be up to three assailants.

“The perpetrator was an 18-year-old German-Iranian from Munich,” police chief Andrae earlier told reporters.

The shooter had dual citizenship and “no criminal record”.

“The motive or explanation for this crime is completely unclear,” he added.

However, a police spokesman in the Bavarian capital had said earlier that terrorism was suspected, without revealing any immediate indications of an Islamist link.

Germany Munich Shooting Hubertus Andrae, Police President of Munich, gestures during a press conference yesterday Source: Jens Meyer

Armed with a handgun, the attacker opened fire at a McDonald’s restaurant early yesterday evening and continued in the street before entering the Olympia mall, killing nine people and wounding 16 in his rampage, according to the latest toll.

“There were youths among the dead,” Andrae said, adding that some of those injured were children.


A police patrol had shot and wounded the attacker but he had managed to escape, he said.

The suspected attacker’s body was later found about one kilometre from the mall where the shootings took place, German DPA news agency reported.

“We found a man who killed himself. We assume that he was the only shooter,” police said on Twitter.

A video posted on social media appeared to show a man dressed in black walking away from a McDonald’s while firing repeatedly on people as they fled screaming.

Munich’s main train station was evacuated and metro and bus transport in the city suspended for several hours while residents were ordered to stay inside, leaving the streets largely deserted.

By early this morning, transport services were running again, Munich police said.

Germany Munich Shooting Police officers point their weapons outside the Olympia mall yesterday Source: Sebastian Widmann

Chancellor Angela Merkel will convene her security council today to address the deadly rampage in the European economic powerhouse which took in more than one million migrants and refugees last year.

“We are determined to do everything we can so that terror and inhuman violence stand no chance in Germany,” her chief of staff Peter Altmaier said.


The spree began before 4pm Irish time at the McDonald’s and continued on a nearby street before the attacker moved into the Olympia centre – which lies not far from the scene of the 1972 Olympics massacre.

Shoppers rushed away from the mall, some carrying children in their arms, as the building was surrounded by armed police and emergency vehicles, while helicopters buzzed overhead.

The attack came just days after a teenage asylum seeker went on a rampage with an axe and a knife on a train on Monday near Wuerzburg, also in Bavaria, injuring five people.

De Maiziere had said the teenager was believed to be a “lone wolf” who appeared to have been “inspired” by IS but was not a member of the jihadist network.

The train rampage triggered calls by politicians in Bavaria to impose an upper limit on the number of refugees coming into Germany, which accepted a record 1.1 million migrants and refugees last year.

Germany Munich Shooting Policemen block the scene of the shooting in Munich early this morning Source: Jens Meyer

German President Joachim Gauck said he was horrified by the “murderous attack”, while Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who was on a flight to New York when the shooting began, said he will return to Germany.

US President Barack Obama and French counterpart Francois Hollande voiced staunch support for their close ally.

“Germany’s one of our closest allies, so we are going to pledge all the support that they may need in dealing with these circumstances,” Obama said, speaking before the nine deaths were confirmed.

“The president of the republic offers his sympathy and support to the German people in this difficult hour,” Hollande said, according to a statement from the presidency.

Austria said it had “significantly” tightened security measures in states sharing a border with Germany and put its elite Cobra police force on high alert.

String of attacks

The Munich mall is near the stadium for the 1972 Olympics and the athletes’ village which was the site of the hostage-taking and massacre of Israeli athletes by the Palestinian Black September group during the Games.

The shooting coincides with the fifth anniversary of the the massacre of 77 people in Norway by rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik.

Europe has been on alert for terrorism in the wake of a string of attacks in neighbouring France and Belgium claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.

The mall shooting occurred just eight days after 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel used a truck to mow down 84 people, including children, in the French Riviera city of Nice.

It was the third major attack on French soil in the past 18 months.

In March, IS claimed suicide bombings at Brussels airport and a city metro station that left 32 people dead.

In May, a mentally unstable 27-year-old man carried out a knife attack on a regional train in Bavaria, killing one person and injuring three others.

Additional reporting Cianan Brennan

First published 7.01am

© – AFP, 2016

Read: Paris camp housing over 1,000 migrants dismantled by police

Read: Former Klan leader that endorsed Trump to run for US Senate

About the author:


Read next: