Suspect found dead at home after nine killed in shootings in German city

A man suspected of fatally shooting nine people in the German city of Hanau has been found dead at his home, hours after attacks at two hookah lounges, police said.

Officers also found another body at the same address, police said.

Police gave no details of the suspected gunman but said there are "no indications of further perpetrators".

They did not give details of his possible motive or how he died, or specify why they believe "with a high degree of probability" that he was the gunman.

Federal prosecutors said they are taking charge of the investigation amid media reports that an online video linked to the suspect indicated he may have had a far-right motive.

The number of dead in the shootings on Wednesday evening rose to nine, a police statement said.

German news agency dpa reported, citing unnamed security officials, that a written claim of responsibility and a video were found and are being examined by police.

Henry Faltin, a spokesman for police in south-eastern Hesse state, where Hanau is located, declined to comment on the dpa claim, or a report by the Bild news site that ammunition was also found in the suspect's vehicle.

Officers sealed off and searched the apartment in the Kesselstadt district, near one of the shootings, after following up witness statements on a getaway car.

Police said work to confirm the identities of the two bodies at the home was under way, and they could not immediately give details on them or the identities of the earlier victims.

Forensics investigate at the scene
Forensics officers at the scene (Michael Probst/AP)

"Thoughts this morning are with the people of Hanau, in whose midst this terrible crime was committed," German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said on Twitter.

"Deep sympathy for the affected families, who are grieving for their dead," the spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said. "We hope with those wounded that they will soon recover."

Police had earlier said a dark vehicle was seen leaving the location of the first attack and another shooting was reported at a scene about a mile away.

Police officers swarmed central Hanau, cordoning off the area of one of the shootings as a helicopter hovered overhead. A car covered in thermal foil also could be seen, with shattered glass next to it. Forensic experts in white overalls collected evidence.

Hookah lounges are places where people gather to smoke flavoured tobacco from Middle Eastern water pipes.

"This was a terrible evening that will certainly occupy us for a long, long time and we will remember with sadness," Hanau mayor Claus Kaminsky told the Bild newspaper. Legislator Katja Leikert, a member of Ms Merkel's centre-right party who represents Hanau in the German parliament, tweeted that it was "a real horror scenario for us all".

Hanau is about 12 miles east of Frankfurt, and has about 100,000 inhabitants.