Hamburg’s Jehovah’s witnesses have cancelled all services following Thursday’s deadly shooting in another meeting hall in the city which claimed seven lives, including that of an unborn child.
The attack took place shortly after worshippers finished their service. Police have told them that they cannot rule out the possibility of a so-called copycat attack, says Michael Tsifidaris, who speaks for the community here.
He’s smartly dressed in a business suit, but looks exhausted. It’s clear that he’s still deeply shaken. Two of his friends were killed in the attack.
He tells us he spent Thursday night with survivors in hospital, and at the police station. But he also comforted relatives as they waited in a hastily arranged emergency centre for news of their loved ones.
“It’s hard to imagine – a group of people are sitting together during an evening in the church, reading the Bible, singing, praying together. Then they spend a couple of minutes together to talk to each other after the meeting, Then, all of a sudden, a scene of love becomes a scene of hate and death.”
The fact that the killer was a former member of the Jehovah’s Witness community here makes the tragedy particularly hard to bear.