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Munich Shooter Got Psychiatric Treatment; Planned Shootings


People mourn near the Olympia shopping center where a shooting took place the day before, leaving nine people dead in Munich, Germany, July 23, 2016.

German investigators say the teenage gunman who killed nine people Friday in the Bavarian state capital of Munich received psychiatric treatment and planned the mass shooting for more than a year.

Eighteen year old David Ali Sonboly received inpatient treatment in 2015 for two months before getting outpatient care, said Thomas Steinkraus-Koch, a spokesman for the Munich prosecutors' office.

In addition to suffering from depression, "the suspect had fears of contact with others," Steinkraus-Koch said Sunday.

Sonboly, who killed himself after the attack, did not target specific people nor is there evidence the shootings were politically motivated, Steinkraus-Koch said.

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Bavarian investigator Robert Heimberger said the shooter took photographs when he visited the site of a previous school shooting in the southwestern German town of Winnenden.

Heimberger said Sonboly probably bought his illegal weapon on the internet and added that he was an avid player of shooting video games. Guns are tightly controlled in Germany and authorities investigating precisely how the shooter obtained the Glock 17 handgun used in the attack.

Bavaria's top security official says Germany's military should be able intervene in crisis situations like Friday night's shooting rampage at the Munich mall.

The mass shooting has senior German officials calling for a review of the country's gun laws. "We must continue to do all we can to limit and strictly control access to deadly weapons," said German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere vowed to review Germany's gun laws after an investigation into Friday's attack. "Then we have to evaluate very carefully if and where further legal changes are needed," he said.

Friday's attack took place four days after a 17-year-old Afghan refugee attacked passengers with an ax and a knife on a train in the German city of Wuerzburg. The teenager wounded four people before police shot him dead. Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack.

FILE - Police officers walk to the crime scene near the river Main, background, where a 17-year-old man from Afghanistan was shot the night before, in Wuerzburg, Germany, July 19, 2016.
FILE - Police officers walk to the crime scene near the river Main, background, where a 17-year-old man from Afghanistan was shot the night before, in Wuerzburg, Germany, July 19, 2016.

In late June, a masked man opened fire at a German movie complex in the western town of Viernheim, near Frankfurt, wounding several people. Special police officers shot him dead and freed several hostages.

Stephen Szabo of the Transatlantic Academy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, told VOA the Wuerzburg attack, followed by the Munich shootings, will focus new scrutiny on Germany's policy of accepting refugees fleeing world trouble spots.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's open policy on refugees is "very different than the policies you've seen in France and Belgium," Szabo said. "...It means that the political ramifications are going to be pretty strong against her and against this open-door policy

Meanwhile, the southeastern European territory of Kosovo is having a day of mourning Sunday for three ethnic Albanians who were among those killed in Munich. Flags are at half-staff at all public institutions. Two other Albanians of Kosovo origin were also wounded.

Some material for this report came from AP and AFP.

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