Table of Contents
At least four people were killed and 14 others injured, seven life-threatening injuries, Monday before the shooting and killing of a shooter, described as a “Islamist intruder” by the Minister for the Interior in Vienna Area.
The Austrian Interior Minister, Karl Nehammer, reported that two men and two women were killed from their injuries, according to Rob Schmitz of NPR. Nehammer said the police killed a single weapon and bogus explosive jacket assailant.
“Last night, at least one Islamist jihadist attacked us,” said Nehammer.
Schmitz said the attacker was a 20-year-old Austrian, North Macedonian, dual citizen, sentenced to 22 months in prison last year for trying to travel to Syria to join the so called Islamic State. Seven months later, he was released thanks to laws unique to young people.
Nehammer said that the house of the defendant was searched and recordings were seized. There were further searches and at least 15 more homes searched.
On Tuesday, Viennese residents were told to stay home as authorities were seeking to assess if there were further suspects or complices.
The attack began at about 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET) Monday, when at least one gunman opened fire outside the main synagogue in Vienna. The synagogue was closed and unoccupied at the point.
Witnesses reported that the gunman was shooting randomly at bars and cafes that were active last night before a nationwide lockout because of the coronavirus. The gunman was killed by police within minutes.
It was named by the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz a “disdainful terror threat.” The government declared three days of domestic mourning and flags to be flown by half-staff before Thursday. On Tuesday at noon (6 a.m. ET), the nation will observe a minute’s silence.
How did the shooting happen in Vienna: the last hours of freedom hysteria
Monday night was intended to be the ultimate shot of liberation in Vienna.
The weather was mild and the “Bermuda triangle” bars and restaurants, the network of narrow hip paths in the 1st district of the old town, had been active for the hours before a nationwide coronavirus curfew effectively shut down the region for a month.
Dinner and drinkers met at tables outside and enjoyed a single revelry in the midst of the whole winter explosion before another pandemic lockout.
At 8:00 p.m. in Seitenstettengasse, a winding asphalt boulevard a mile from the Danube River, the shooting started without notice.
Following attacks that left at least two civilians and one reportedly gunman dead, Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister recounted, “They shot at least 100 rounds right outside our building.” He told reporters to see at least one person shooting from his window over Vienna ‘s largest synagogue at those sitting outside on the pavement.
“The last night before the lockout is this night,’ he said, “All the bars and pubs in Austria will be locked from midnight in the next month and some citizens really wanted to go out in the night.”
Another witness told the public broadcaster ORF in Austria that a gunman had started to strike a group of people sitting at table randomatically. It seemed like a firecracker, “they said,” and then we remembered that it had been a weapon.
The video allegedly showed the incident and shared a blood puddle at the entrance of a restaurant by European counter-terrorism officers.
Another unconfirmed movie shows a guy with a pistol and a white shirt and beige trousers firing at a house. A male voice could be seen from one of the buildings at the suspected gunman.
Vienna Shooting: many dead on the day of the lockout following a video update of a ‘repulsive terror attempt’
The gunfire quickly spread to six different locations nearby, the police said.
At least four persons were murdered, including an intruders shot dead outside the church of St Rupert, with a rifle and a revolver, an explosive belt and a bag of ammunition on their necks.
Another fifteen patients were admitted to the facility, seven of them reportedly extreme.
“We are the victims of a disgusting terrorist attempt in the federal capital now,” said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz hours after the fire erupted.
Video surveillance appeared to show that the intruder had only one attacker, and the authorities assumed that it was actually on Monday night that more attackers were already in the open. “It also appears that they were very well armed, as far as we know, with automatic weapons,” said Kurz.
“We were in a state of incredulity”
At the time of the attack, a resident, Chris Zhao, was at the Seitenstettengasse restaurant. He told the BBC that just after 8 p.m. he heard between 20 to 30 bangs which seemed like firecrackers.
At first, the restaurant manager closed, but as he left, Zhao said he saw several wounded and damaged body. “We had no idea what was going on,” he added, “We were in shock.”
At the outskirts of the synagogue, Gernot Gruber, a 25-year-old man, had been stuck in the Hard Rock cafeteria fewer than 100 meters from the first strike.
“He advised the Guardians” When you hear the noises in Austria, you do not presume they are bullet, you just do not. Restaurant staff locked the gates, instructed everyone to keep out of the windows and told them to flee from the initial danger to the Schwedenplatz until a police raided the building with special forces.
On a retail street in the middle of Vienna, mounted policemen are standing waiting.
Gruber claimed that as they walked out of the café, police noticed their arms on the street corners. As the crowd entered Schwedenplatz, police instructed them to raise their hands in order to prove they had no guns.
“This is the first time that the police have targeted me with their weapons,” he said. “It’s an experience I think nobody has has has before. I’ve traveled to a lot of places and read and seen the assaults that have taken place, but I never was near one.
Lea, who just released her first name, stays in the local 2nd district of Vienna. She said she typically spends nights targeted by a sniper in the bustling quarter. She was at ease, instead.
It is really terrifying right now, my phone is continuously disturbed and all too worried. They’re tragic. Ideally, the police will locate all the perpetrators, and there will be no people to suffer more.
She said, though, that the Viennese will “rock higher than ever.”
There is no space here for extremism, particularly from the west, from the right or from a religious point of view, because they all pretend to be “Wien ist anders” [Vienna is different].
Police officers patrol a spot in the city center
The office workers were ordered to remain at their workplaces overnight while the restaurants were closed and barricaded. Vienna was locked in a separate manner through the night.
Theater, opera and theater patrons were held inside for hours until they were considered safe to return home. Some 1,000 spectators were told about the assault in the sold-out State Opera as Director Bogdan Roscic stepped out of the stage curtain. They were finally taken out of the house almost four hours after 11:45 p.m.
In the 1st district public transport did not end at that point, and taxis would not enter the city, making it long and difficult for many citizens to come home.
The explanation for the attack continues to be investigated, while the Minister of the Interior, Karl Nehammer, said Tuesday morning that he was “confident” that the attack had an Islamic intent.
A 20-year-old with joint Austrian-Northern Macedonian citizenship, who was sentenced to 22 months in jail on 25 April 2019 for attempting to move to Syria to enter the Islamic Regime, is understood to be the gunman fired by police on Monday night. In compliance with Austrian legislation covering the interests of young people, he was published early in December 2019.
Kurz thanked the police for killing one of the suspected perpetrators and vowed: “We will never cause ourselves to be endangered by extremism and would battle these threats in any way.”