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Man in German cinema siege identified

dpadpa 23/06/2016

German officials say they have identified the man who shot up a cinema and took 14 hostages before being killed by police.

A 19-year-old German man has been identified by local prosecutors as the gunman who shot up a cinema and took hostages in Germany.

The public prosecutor's office also said that the guns used by the hostage-taker, who was killed by police, fired only blank cartridges.

The man, who had been living in northern Germany, had taken four cinema employees and 14 customers, including children, hostage on Thursday.

No live cartridges had been brought to the scene, said the office in the western German city of Darmstadt, roughly 45 kilometres north of Viernheim, where the shootings took place.

A pistol and a rifle were used during the incident. So far no motive has been given for the incident.

Police officials said on Friday the hostages held by the gunman were released unharmed and that the gunman was most likely a lone perpetrator.

Cinema employee Guri Blakaj, who was working the till at the time, said he saw an armed man at the popcorn counter and at first thought he was a customer who had come in a costume - "but then we quickly realised it was something more serious, and we lay down on the ground."

Blakaj told n-tv television that the man told him to close the doors while holding the weapon to his head, then ordered him to go to his office and stay there. He said the man shot at a colleague but didn't hit him.

"He seemed very confused, and was relatively young," Blakaj said.

He said he had asked the assailant whether he wanted money, and the man said he didn't. Blakaj and colleagues stayed in an office until police arrived.

The Kinopolis, a multiplex cinema, is located in a shopping mall in Viernheim, which is near the city of Mannheim.

The incident happened on a hot summer afternoon and the cinema appears to have been relatively empty at the time.

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