A gunman killed nine people in two shootings at shisha bars and one at his home in the German town of Hanau on Wednesday night, police have said.

The suspect then killed himself, according to police, after also killing his mother at his home.

Nine people died in the attacks on the two bars at about 10pm on Wednesday night. Five others shot have life-threatening injuries, police said.

Graphic

Some of those killed were of Turkish origin, a spokesman for the Turkish presidency said. “We expect German authorities to show maximum effort to enlighten this case. Racisim is a collective cancer,” İbrahim Kalın said on Twitter.

The killer was named by police as 43-year-old Tobias R. His surname was not given, in line with German practice.

He shot himself and his 72-year-old mother at home, police said. They also confirmed that he possessed a hunting licence.

The Bild newspaper said he expressed extreme rightwing views in a letter of confession he left behind. The Guardian could not confirm this.

After the murders, a huge hunt was launched for the perpetrator involving dozens of armed police and a helicopter hovering above the commuter town 25km east of Frankfurt.

Police tweeted at about 5am local time that special police force officers had stormed the home of the alleged suspect and found him dead along with another body.

“There are currently no indications of other perpetrators,” police said in a statement.

<span class="element-image__caption">Police guard the scene in front of a restaurant in central Hanau.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Michael Probst/AP</span>‘ src=”” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/SjfOXjZXfrTeYvgw59BUqQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQyMw–/https://media.zenfs.com/en-GB/the_guardian_765/829bd0fd5fc4c8aa513ef3b354648d6b”></div><figcaption class="caption-collapse"><span class="element-image__caption">Police guard the scene in front of a restaurant in central Hanau.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Michael Probst/AP</span></figcaption></figure>
<p>Officers sealed off and searched the apartment in Hanau’s Kesselstadt district, near the scene of one of the shootings, after following up witness statements on a getaway car.</p>
<p>According to local media, eight or nine shots were fired at the Midnight shisha bar on Heumarkt in the centre of the town at about 10pm local time.</p>
<p>A dark vehicle was seen leaving the scene. Soon afterwards, shots were fired at a second shisha bar – the Arena Bar & Café in Kurt-Schumacher-Platzin the western Kesselstadt district.</p>
<p>Initial reports of a third incident in the district of Lamboy were denied by police.</p>
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<div class="caas-img-container caas-img-loader"><img class="caas-img caas-lazy has-preview" alt=Ambulances and paramedics at the crime scene in Hanau near Frankfurt am Main. Photograph: WIESBADEN112/EPA‘ src=”” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/eplTKP6HZqGSWzAXTAa2nA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQyMw–/https://media.zenfs.com/en-GB/the_guardian_765/3a983550ff4fd5171eafc1b84a676fe6″>
Ambulances and paramedics at the crime scene in Hanau near Frankfurt am Main. Photograph: WIESBADEN112/EPA

Police urged any witnesses with mobile phone footage to upload it to a police website, and appealed to them not to post the evidence on social media.

Michael Malkmus, spokesman for south-east Hessen police force, said local people helped the police track down the alleged perpetrator after seeing his car parked outside their block of flats. “We came to the flat after calls from people who had seen a vehicle. We ID’d his number plate and matched it to his flat. We sealed the area and then entered the flat.”

Federal prosecutors said on Thursday they were taking charge of investigating the shooting amid reports that the suspect may have had a far-right motive.

The Federal Prosecutors Office in Karlsruhe, which handles serious crimes, said it planned to hold a news conference later Thursday.

Map of scene

“Thoughts this morning are with the people of Hanau, in whose midst this terrible crime was committed,” the 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.”

Hanau’s federal MP, Katja Leikert, called the attack a “horrific scenario” in a tweet in which she offered her “heartfelt condolences” to the victims.

The mayor of the town, Claus Kaminsky, said it was the “worst evening imaginable”. Hanau has a population of about 100,000.

<span class="element-image__caption">Forensic experts work around a damaged car after the shooting.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters</span>‘ src=”” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/E6l6UU.NCtKEDu_X4H2xlg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQyMw–/https://media.zenfs.com/en-GB/the_guardian_765/2c1b4409a88cc543d67674178b78178d”></div><figcaption class="caption-collapse"><span class="element-image__caption">Forensic experts work around a damaged car after the shooting.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters</span></figcaption></figure>
<p>Reports of the shooting come just days after one person was shot dead and four more were injured outside a Berlin music venue. The shooting in the German capital occurred last Friday near the Tempodrome, which was hosting a Turkish comedy show on the night. The motives behind the Berlin attack have remained unclear.</p>
<p>Witnesses to the Hanau attack described how the attacker had randomly fired shots into the bars. One witness, Kenan Kocak, said he was waiting to hear whether his uncle, who had been in the bar, had survived. “I do not know whether he has pulled through,” he told the TV station NTV. “It’s very sad in particular that young people – a young lad, and a young girl about 20, 25 years old – have died. I was there with them yesterday. Someone who worked there was also taken to hospital. It looks very bad.”</p>
<p>One man in his early 30s said he received a call from a friend who had been in one of the bars. “He left a message to tell me he had been hit,” the man, who was not identified, told NTV. “I called him back immediately. He told me he was in an ambulance. He had a bullet in his shoulder.”</p>
<p>Another witness who knew some of the victims said: “These are people we have known for years. It’s like in a film. That it’s happened is unimaginable. That there are people out there who are so heartless, shooting others who have done nothing wrong,” he told NTV.</p>
<p>Other witnesses spoke of finding empty shells strewn on the ground outside one of the cafes.</p>
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