"An evening and a night of horror"
"The people in Munich have just been through an evening and a night of horror," said Chancellor Angela Merkel following the shooting in Munich. Everyone, she said, was still stunned by the images and the reports of eye witnesses. "Nine people who just wanted to do some shopping or eat something quickly on Friday evening are now dead. At this stage in the investigations, all bullets appear to have been fired by one gunman," said the Chancellor on Saturday in Berlin.
"We must continue to protect the freedom of all people"
The security cabinet had met earlier in the day at the Federal Chancellery. Angela Merkel said that Federal Foreign Minister Thomas de Maizière and the heads of federal security authorities had reported on the status of investigations. Thomas de Maizière is in close and constant contact with the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior, said Angela Merkel, "as I am with the Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer".
The state and the security authorities will continue to do everything they can to ensure the safety and the liberty of all people in Germany.
The Chancellor praised cooperation with the Bavarian authorities and their federal counterparts. Angela Merkel reported that cooperation had been "extremely close and smooth from the outset" and expressed her thanks to all those concerned.
Shortly after the Chancellor, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière reported on the current status of investigations. The 18-year-old gunman had not previously attracted the attention of the security authorities. Thomas de Maizière said that "it is highly probable" that the 18-year-old acted alone. Materials had been recovered from his home which established links to previous mass shootings. There were also indications that he had been bullied. He did not appear to have any links to international terrorism.
"We are all grieving with a heavy heart"
On behalf of the entire government, the Chancellor expressed her deep sympathy to the families of the victims. "We are all grieving with a heavy heart for those who will never again return to their families. I would like to say personally, and on behalf of many many people in Germany, to the families – the parents and the children, for whom everything today appears empty and meaningless: we share your pain; we are thinking of you; we are suffering with you."
Angela Merkel sent her wishes for a speedy recovery to the many injured in the attack. "May you recover swiftly, and even more importantly may you have a full recovery, and find all the support you need in this."
A lot of dreadful news within a few days
"An evening and a night like this are hard to take – for all of us," said the Chancellor. And the news is all the more difficult to digest in view of the many dreadful incidents that have taken place within only a few days. Angela Merkel spoke of the Nice attack, where on 14 July, the French national holiday or Bastille Day, a man drove a truck into a crowd and killed 84 people.
The Chancellor also mentioned the attack on a train near Würzburg - "an unimaginably cruel axe attack". The attacker came to Germany a good year ago as a refugee, and had apparently been radicalised by Islamist propaganda.
"We will find out precisely what was behind the shooting in Munich. We will not rest until we know exactly what radicalised the attacker in Würzburg," said the Chancellor.
What can give us confidence to look forward?
"These attacks always target places where any one of us could have been," said Angela Merkel. She said that she can understand everyone who now shies away from large crowds, and asks if they are really safe there.
"What can give us confidence to look forward to the future at moments like this?" asked the Chancellor. "Firstly I think of our excellent security forces." They all demonstrated their high level of professionalism during the evening and the night. "They kept a city of millions of people safe over a period of many hours in an extremely confused and uncertain situation, and they communicated calmly. They were and are in the best sense of the term the helpers and protectors of the people." Like the rescue services, she continued, they give everything.
People of Munich stand up for liberty and humanity
The Chancellor also thanked the people of Munich. They followed the instructions of the police calmly and sensibly, helped one another, even opening up their homes to strangers who couldn’t make it home. "And with their actions they have shown how we live in a free society that values humanity," stressed Angela Merkel. "And this liberty and our humanity are our greatest strengths."
She also expressed her thanks for the many messages of support received from outside Germany. "Governments and personalities from many countries have let us Germans know that they are thinking of us, that they stand shoulder to shoulder with us, and that – if necessary – they are ready to help us." It is good to know that this solidarity exists among different nations, and that Germany has many friends in the fight against violence and terrorism.