“We are on the scene with a major operation,” the Hamburg police said in a statement. “So far there is no reliable information about the motive for the crime.”
There are no indications that a perpetrator is on the run, Hamburg police spokesman Holger Vehren said in a camera interview from the crime scene. The perpetrator may have been among those killed, he added.
Police found the body of a man who could be the shooter inside the building, but were still conducting searches. Police have not disclosed how many victims were injured or killed in the attack.
After arriving at the crime scene, police heard a gunshot from the Jehovah’s Witness building and found a body as they followed the sound, Vehren said. Police found several dead and others wounded with bullets when they arrived at the building around 9:15 p.m. local time, he added.
Vehren said police teams were conducting a crime scene analysis and gathering information on the victims.
The city’s emergency services are working “fully to track down whoever was responsible for the shooting” and are looking for a motive, according to a translation of Hamburg mayor Peter Tschentscher’s rack on Twitter.
Photographs of the scene, taken by local photographers, showed a large number of heavily armed police officers dressed in body armor, holding long rifles and organizing outside a three-story building.
Ambulances could also be seen arriving at the modern-looking building, photos show.
People who were in or near the building at the time of the shooting were led away on foot by emergency responders.
Tschentscher, the mayor of Hamburg, said the reports from Großbrush are “shocking” and expressed his “deepest condolences to the families of the victims”.
Other photos showed a member of an explosive ordnance disposal squad inside the building, along with police officers in tactical gear.
“The dead all have gunshot wounds,” a police spokesman told North German Broadcasting, the local public radio and television broadcaster.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are members of a Christian faith group that claims to have 8.6 million followers in its congregations, known as Kingdom Halls, in 239 lands. The religious group was founded in the United States.
This story will be updated.