A shooting occurred at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen near Stuttgart this morning, leaving two men dead.
Police apprehended a suspect, identified as a 53-year-old man working for an external service supplier to the factory that builds flagship Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS sedans, among other models.
According to a statement from police and the Stuttgart prosecutor’s office cited by Reuters and BBC, the man opened fire on the victims, who where employees of the same supplier, before security workers at the site were able to hold him down and hand him over to police.
The suspect did not resist arrest and authorities are now investigating his motive. The two 44-year-old men died after the shooting in a production hall at the factory, one of them at the hospital. No one else was hurt.
The Sindelfingen site, which has 35,000 employees, was evacuated following the shooting, which took place after the suspect entered the site at 7:45 a.m. local time.
“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,” Mercedes said in a statement.
The Stuttgart prosecutor’s office said there was a single perpetrator and no one outside the plant was involved. There was no danger to the public, police said.
Tragic incidents like this are extremely rare at auto factories in Germany, which are well-secured, with entry highly controlled. The incident mounts pressure on the German federal government to tighten the country’s already strict gun laws.
Berlin already said it will do that after another gunman opened fire on people gathered in a Jehovah’s Witnesses hall in Hamburg in March, killing seven.
In Germany, gun owners are checked every five years to determine whether their possession of a weapon is justified. In addition, the country outlawed certain large magazines in 2020.
Under current laws, anyone aged under 25 is required to pass a psychological evaluation before getting a gun license. In 2021, there were around one million private gun owners in Germany, according to the National Firearms Registry, most of them hunters.