Hamburg police said in a tweet that a large-scale operation was underway in the Alsterdorf area.
“#Aktuell there is a larger police operation in #Alsterdorf. We are currently examining the background and will provide more information here shortly,” tweeted Hamburg Police.
The port city’s mayor, Peter Tschentscher, expressed shock at the shooting on Twitter.
“The reports from Alsterdorf / Grob Borstel are shocking. My deepest condolences to the families of the victims. The emergency services are working flat out to track down the perpetrator and to clarify the background,” Tschentscher tweeted.
According to several media reports, the shooting took place at a Jehova’s Witness center on the Deelboge street.
“According to initial findings, a shot was fired in a church on Deelboge street in the #GrossBorstel district. Several people were seriously injured, some even fatally. We are on site with a large contingent of forces,” tweeted the police.
Residents living nearby were warned to leave their homes amid the ongoing operation, reported DW News.
So far, there is no reliable information on the motive for the crime. More details are awaited
As news of the shooting emerged, Hamburg police said that a major operation was underway in the GrossBorstel district of the city. Several streets were sealed off and the public warned by text message to avoid the area. Local residents were told to stay indoors and only to use their phones “in extreme emergency” so as not to overburden the network.
“According to initial findings, shots were fired in a church on Deelbögestrasse in the GrossBorstel district,” police said. “Several people were seriously injured, some fatally. We are on site with a large contingent of officers.”
Police from a specialised armed unit were by chance already near the scene when the shooting happened, local media reported. They happened to be on their way back to accommodation at their headquarters in Alsterdorf when they heard gunshots.
NDR reporter Heiko Sander told Tagesschau that the police nearby acted after hearing several shots being fired. They entered the building and started evacuating people, including a woman who was pregnant, Sander said.
When officers arrived at the scene they found several people seriously injured and some dead. “Then they heard a shot from above, they went upstairs and found one further person,” a police spokesperson said.