(BBC) – The investigation into a deadly gun attack in Hanau is focusing on whether others knew about or helped organise it, Germany’s federal prosecutor says.
The suspect shot dead nine people “of migrant background” at two shisha bars on Wednesday evening. He and his mother were later found dead in his flat.
Peter Frank said material the suspect Tobias R had posted online showed a “deeply racist mindset”.
He had also been influenced by conspiracy theories, Mr Frank said.
Earlier Chancellor Angela Merkel said there were many signs Tobias R, 43, had acted out of racism.
Speaking in Berlin, Mrs Merkel said: “Racism is a poison. Hate is a poison and this poison exists in our society and is already to blame for many crimes.”
Turkey says at least five of the dead were Turkish citizens. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he expected Germany to “throw light on all aspects” of the attack.
Nazi salutes, banned swastika emblems and even the playing of the Horst Wessel, the one-time Nazi “anthem” – all have been cropping up in far-right extremist circles as Germany struggles to contain a growing wave of home-grown extremism.
The problem has been particularly acute in – but not confined to – the east of the country, in the former East Germany. There, unemployment levels have been higher than in the rest of Germany and a simmering resentment, by some, of the recent immigrant arrivals has manifested itself in arson attacks on hostels.
In 2015 Germany opened its borders to an estimated 1.5 million refugees from the Middle East. Although the number of subsequent incidents involving them has been very small, their arrival has been used by far right extremists to stoke ethnic tensions and recruit more young men and women to their cause.
What did the prosecutor say?
Mr Frank said six people had also been injured in the attack, one of them seriously.
Shortly after the attacks the suspect and his 72-year-old mother were found in his apartment, both also shot. A gun was found next to the suspect’s body.
Mr Frank said investigators wanted to establish any links the suspect may have had in Germany or potentially also abroad.
“My sympathies to the loved ones of the victims. I wish the injured a swift recovery. It is a day that will live long in our memory and will motivate our investigations,” Mr Frank said at a short news conference.
What do we know about the attacks?
The shootings took place around 22:00 (21:00 GMT) on Wednesday, and the first target was the Midnight shisha bar in the city centre of Hanau. Witnesses reported hearing about a dozen gunshots.
The suspect then travelled by car to the Kesselstadt neighbourhood, some 2.5km (1.5 miles) away, and opened fire at the Arena Bar & Cafe.
Shisha bars are places where people gather to smoke a pipe known as shisha or hookah. Traditionally found in Middle Eastern and Asian countries, they are also popular in many other parts of the world.
The shootings sparked a manhunt. Police identified the gunman through information from witnesses and surveillance cameras. Early on Thursday, they stormed the suspect’s home, near the scene of the second shooting.
Hanau, in Hesse state, is a city of 100,000 residents about 25km east of Frankfurt.