A suspect was shot dead by police after reports of a shooting and injuries in Vienna’s inner district Monday evening, and authorities believe others may have been involved.
At least one other person was killed in the shooting with several more injured, including a police officer, Austria’s state police said on Twitter. The number of wounded and the status of their conditions was not immediately known.
There were reports of shots fired about 8:00 p.m. local time, and a total of six crime scenes were under investigation, police said. Authorities currently believe several suspects fired long guns, or rifles.
Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig said 15 people were in the hospital, seven of whom were severely injured, during an interview with Austrian public broadcasting service ORF. Police have not confirmed the number of victims.
Austria’s Interior Minister, Karl Nehammer, also speaking to ORF, urged residents to stay at home while police search for multiple suspects, who are likely armed and dangerous, he said.
Authorities have asked anyone with photos or videos from the shooting to refrain from posting them to social media and instead upload them to share with police to aid in the investigation.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz described the shooting as “hideous terrorist attack” in a statement posted to Twitter. Kurz thanked officers for their response and said the country “will never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism.”
“So that the police can concentrate fully on the fight against terrorism, the federal government has decided that the armed forces will take over the property protection previously carried out by the police in Vienna with immediate effect,” Kurz said.
Alexander Van der Bellen, president of Austria, offered his thoughts and compassion to the injured and their families in the “alleged terrorist attack in downtown Vienna.”
“We will defend our freedom and democracy together and resolutely by all means,” Van der Bellen said. “I am in contact with the federal government and thank you on behalf of the republic for the statements of support from international heads of state and government.”
Pamela Rendi-Wagner, chairwoman of the Social Democratic Party of Austria, said she was “deeply shaken” by the attack.
“I am deeply shaken, stunned and appalled by this horrific terrorist attack in downtown Vienna,” the chairwoman tweeted. “Please follow the instructions of the police and be careful.”
The shooting took place Monday on the last night before Austria’s second lockdown is set to begin, restricting access to non-essential businesses until the end of November as coronavirus cases begin to rise once again.
It also takes place just days after an attack on a church in Nice, France, that killed three people. Authorities believe a 21-year-old Tunisian national who entered France in early October began stabbing people after he entered the Notre Dame basilica Thursday morning.
The incident in Nice is being investigated as a suspected terror attack.
French President Emmanuel Macron offered his support to Austrians, calling theirs a “friendly country” under attack in a tweet translated to English.
“This is our Europe. Our enemies need to know who they are dealing with,” Macron said. “We won’t give in to anything.”