Suspect in German synagogue shooting identified

Halle Synagogue. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Allexkoch

Oct. 10 (UPI) — German prosecutors said the gunman who killed two people near a synagogue in Halle was motivated by “extreme far-right and anti-Semitic” views.

Police said the suspect, Stephen Balliet, 27, posted a 35-minute video to the Twitch streaming service that showed the killings and included a brief anti-Semitic rant where he claimed the Holocaust “never happened.” He also went on a diatribe about how Jews are the root of today’s problems, including immigration.

The attack happened on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, and more than 80 people were inside the synagogue worshiping.

Police said the gunman couldn’t get in the synagogue so he shot a woman on the street and then went to a nearby kebab shop. Two others were wounded but the injuries weren’t life threatening.

Balliet was arrested shortly after the shooting.

The video, since removed by Twitch, appeared to show the attacker had a camera attached to his helmet. The video appears to show an individual shooting multiple people and driving to different locations, including a synagogue and the kebab shop. The man on the video had a shaved head and wore a mask and a helmet.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended a vigil Thursday in Berlin for the victims.

“We must fight against any form of anti-Semitism,” government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said.

The live streaming of a mass shooting brought back memories of the deadly Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand earlier this year that killed 51 people.

The shooting prompted New Zealand to announce a new gun registry that tracks and monitors every legally owned firearm in the country.


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