An armed suspect who allegedly killed his mother before taking two hostages in Dresden has now died, police confirmed.
Police said they were initially communicating with a 40-year-old German national after he barricaded himself in a shopping mall with a child, aged nine, and a 38-year-old store worker.
It was announced just after noon on Saturday that the hostage situation was over, with 300 officers on duty including special forces officers during the incident.
The unnamed man died during the operation, police in the state of Saxony, of which Dresden is the capital, posted on Twitter.
“The 40-year-old suffered fatal injuries during the attack and the liberation of the hostages. The specific circumstances are the subject of further investigations,” the force said in a statement.
Special task force officers used firearms which resulted in the suspect being fatally injured during a stand-off.
He is suspected of killing his mother, 62, who was found dead in another part of Dresden in the early hours of Saturday morning, before travelling to the city centre.
At around 8.30am local time (7.30 GMT), he entered a building on Ammonstrasse, firing shots at the door of a radio station.
He had the nine-year-old, believed to be a friend’s child, with him at the time, Saxony Police said.
Staff at Radio Dresden reported an armed man had entered the Ammonhof office building, where the broadcaster is located, and fired several shots.
The suspect then drove with the child to the Altmarkt-Galerie shopping mall before he is alleged to have taken a store worker hostage and barricaded them inside an office.
He then called police who confirmed they were in contact with the perpetrator, with a negotiating group on site, shortly after 11.30am.
The mall was evacuated and Dresden’s Striezelmarkt Christmas market was shut down while the operation to free the hostages was under way.
Hostages ‘outwardly uninjured’
Police stormed the office after hearing gunshots during the stand-off, forcing a door open to gain entry.
The hostages were “outwardly uninjured” during their ordeal, police said.
Police spokesman Thomas Geithner said the suspect was mentally ill, according to previous investigations.
Police separately confirmed a 62-year-old woman had been found dead in an apartment building in Prohlis, Dresden, on Saturday. Her 40-year-old son was named as a suspect.
News outlet TAG24 reported that police said the hostage-taking at the shopping mall was related to the killing, but declined to provide further details.
The closure of the city centre is now lifted, with police saying the incident is “no longer a dangerous situation”. But the Altmarkt-Galerie shopping mall remains closed.
Police said the processing of the operation and the investigations will take some time.
The incident comes as security has shifted into focus in Germany, after investigators earlier this week foiled a
far-right plot to overthrow the German government and install an aristocrat as the leader of a new state.