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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 8 March 2021

Munich teen killer was obsessed with mass shootings

Friday marked the fifth anniversary of the slaughter of 77 people by the right-wing fanatic Anders Breivik in Norway. That was the day Ali David Sonboly chose to join the ranks of young mass murderers.
People place flowers in front of the Olympia shopping centre in Munich, where Ali David Sonboly carried out his attack a day before. Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters
People place flowers in front of the Olympia shopping centre in Munich, where Ali David Sonboly carried out his attack a day before. Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

MUNICH // He was born a Shiite and his parents think he may have converted to Christianity at some point, but what really fascinated Ali David Sonboly was mass killers. On Friday, the 18-year-old became one himself when he gunned down nine people in a shopping centre in Munich.

The police who raided Sonboly’s home in Munich found nothing to indicate any interest in extremist causes but much evidence of an obsession with mass killers. In his bedroom they found a stash of books and documents about so-called “spree shootings” and including a German translation of Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters.

Written in 2010 by Dr Peter Langman, the book examines the phenomenon of teenage murderers with particular reference to the Virginia Tech and Columbine school massacres in the United States. Sonboly also admired the 17-year-old German who shot dead 15 people at his school near Stuttgart in 2009.

Dr Langman said he had written the book “ to keep people safe, to teach people what to look for to prevent such attacks.”.

There was other material about “frenzied attacks” and several violent computer games, according to the police.

Friday marked the fifth anniversary of the slaughter of 77 people by the right-wing fanatic Anders Breivik in Norway. That was the day Sonboly chose to join the ranks of young mass murderers.

The link with the massacre perpetrated by Breivik was “obvious”, said Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae.

Sonboly was known to have mental problems. He had been treated for depression and received psychiatric care although it is not yet known if he was under the influence of drugs – prescription or otherwise – or alcohol when he embarked on his rampage.

Defining a motive was “very difficult”, said `Mr Andrae. “There is no link to ISIL or to any refugee issues. It was a classic act by a deranged person.”

Other residents in the social housing block where Sonboly lived were deeply shocked. Neighbour Delfye Dalbi, 40, described him as a helpful young man who was “never bitter or angry”. Others found him painfully shy and awkward.

“All his body language said ‘I don’t want to talk to you’,” said Stephan, a waiter at the cafe on the ground floor of Sonboly’s housing block.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

Published: July 24, 2016 04:00 AM

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