Disturbing video caught the moment a former Jehovah’s Witness fired more than 100 rounds into his former church in Germany — killing at least seven people, including an unborn child.
Grainy footage shot from a distance shows a dark figure standing at an entrance to the Hamburg Kingdom Hall around 9 p.m. Thursday — firing at least three separate barrages of bullets.
The gunman — named by police on Friday as former worshipper Philipp F., 35, who also shot himself dead — appears to linger and duck as he repeatedly approached either a door or a window.
The footage caught a blaze of sirens rushing to the scene, with police saying Friday that they arrived in minutes — and managed to separate the gunman from the congregation of at least 50.
“We can assume that they saved many people’s lives this way,” Hamburg’s state Interior Minister Andy Grote said Friday of “the worst crime that our city has experienced recently.”
By then, the former church member had fired more than 100 rounds from a semi-automatic pistol he had legally owned since December.
When police arrived, the shooter ran to the floor above and shot himself dead, the officials said.
He killed four men and two women — as well as an unborn female child, whose mother survived. She was among eight others wounded, four of them seriously.
When police arrived, the shooter ran to the floor above and shot himself, the officials said, praising police for a quick response they said possibly avoided more deaths.
Philipp F. was described by Spiegel as being a 35-year-old business consultant who offered pricy consultations on theology.
He described himself online as an “avowed European,” the outlet said, but he was not known to authorities as an extremist.
Hamburg police chief Ralf Martin Meyer said the killer had previously been investigated after authorities received a tip that he might not be suitable to bear firearms.
However, he was found not to have broken rules and remained licensed to own the semi-automatic pistol.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a former Hamburg mayor, described it as “a brutal act of violence.”
However, it appeared to be a “shooting rampage” rather than a suspected terrorist attack, Scholz’s spokesperson stressed.
A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said members “worldwide grieve for the victims of this traumatic event.”
“The congregation elders in the local area are providing pastoral care for those affected by the event,” he wrote.
Jehovah’s Witnesses were founded in the US in the 19th century and headquartered in Warwick, New York. It claims a worldwide membership of about 8.7 million, with about 170,000 in Germany.
The denomination’s practices include a refusal to receive blood transfusions, salute a national flag, participate in secular government — or bear arms
Germany has been shaken by other mass shootings in the last few years.
A gunman with suspected far-right links shot dead nine people, including migrants from Turkey, in the western town of Hanau before killing himself and his mother in February 2020.
The previous October, a shooter killed two people outside a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.
With Post wires