A suspect was detained after a shooting at a Mercedes-Benz MBGn.DE plant in southwestern Germany left two people dead on Thursday, adding to pressure on Germany to tighten its already-strict gun laws.
The suspect was identified as a 53-year-old man.
Mercedes-Benz said two people had died. The Stuttgart prosecutor confirmed that a second person had died and said no one else was injured.
“One person is in police custody. The persons are employees of an external service provider,” Mercedes said in a statement.
Investigators are working on the assumption of a single perpetrator in the shooting, and that no individuals outside the factory were involved, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said.
The incident was the latest of a number of mass shootings in Germany in recent years, many of which had a connection with extremism.
The German government had vowed to tighten its gun laws further after a gunman opened fire on people gathered in a Jehovah’s Witnesses hall in Hamburg in March, killing six.
Germany outlawed certain large magazines in 2020 and conducts five-yearly checks on gun owners to ascertain whether their possession of a weapon is justified.
Mercedes-Benz produces its flagship S-Class luxury sedan at the location in Sindelfingen, located some 17 kilometres southwest of Stuttgart. Some 35,000 people are employed at the site.
Mercedes said there was no longer any danger to locals or colleagues in Sindelfingen.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic news from Sindelfingen this morning. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and all colleagues on site,” it said in a statement.
Police and emergency responders remained at the scene. Emergency services were first notified of the incident at 7:45 am (0545 GMT).
In 2012, a shooting at a factory site for technology firm 3M in the western German town of Hilden left one dead and four injured.
Gun attacks in Germany in recent years
– In March 2023, a gunman shot dead six people before killing himself at a Jehovah’s Witness worship hall in Hamburg.
– In February 2020, a 43-year-old man killed nine people with a migration background in a right-wing extremist and racially motivated attack in the city of Hanau, east of Frankfurt, before shooting his mother and himself.
– In October 2019, a gunman who denounced Jews opened fire outside a German synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, and killed two people.
– In July 2016, an 18-year-old German-Iranian man killed nine people, most of them Muslims, in a right-wing motivated rampage at a shopping centre in the southern city of Munich.
– In March 2011, two U.S. soldiers were killed in an Islamist-motivated attack on a U.S. Army bus at Frankfurt airport.
– In March 2009, a 17-year-old shot dead 15 people in Winnenden and Wendlingen in south-west Germany in a school and went on the run before killing himself.
– In April 2002, 17 people died in the city of Erfurt when a 19-year-old shot 16 people and then himself at a school.