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Berlin: Hostage crisis ends with suspect taking own life

April 25, 2023

Police stormed a store in Berlin in the early hours of the morning after a man had been held hostage for several hours. Authorities say the suspect took his own life but the hostage was unharmed.

Nighttime shot showing several special police units and vehicles gathered on Keithstrasse street in Berlin, taken in early hours of April 25, 2023.
Special police forces raided the store after a hostage drama lasting hours and say the suspect took his own lifeImage: Carsten Koall/dpa/picture alliance

Berlin police said on Tuesday morning that they had rescued a hostage in an overnight raid in the Schöneberg district and that the suspect had killed himself. 

"Our SEK [special police units] colleagues forced their way into the store in Schöneberg shortly after 2:30 a.m., and rescued the hostage without physical injury. The suspect has committed suicide," police wrote on Twitter early on Tuesday. 

The first emergency calls reached the police around 5:30 p.m. They said that they detained a different man just hours later, "comparatively early" in the operation.

Whether or not he was an accomplice of the main, deceased suspect was now under investigation, police said. Both the men had been armed. 

Initial comments from law enforcement didn't make clear exactly when or how the suspect took his own life, whether during the raid or before it and by what method.

Several paramedics and police carrying a man laid on a stretcher on Keithstrasse in Berlin
A male hostage who police said was physically unharmed was stretchered out after the storming of the premisesImage: Carsten Koall/dpa/picture alliance

Female hostage also rescued

Initially, police had merely announced a major ongoing operation at what turned out be an antiques store on Keithstrasse in Berlin in the early hours of Monday evening, saying they would not give details until the situation's resolution. 

They had also asked members of the public and the media not to publish or share images from the scene for fear of jeopardizing the operation, although some information did spread. 

Several streets in the area were cordoned off for several hours. Medics and paramedics were also on site. 

A police van and car, lights on, blocking a street corner at night in Berlin
Access to several streets around the scene of the hostage-taking was restricted for hoursImage: Carsten Koall/dpa/picture alliance

A police spokesman told German news agency DPA that a female hostage had already been brought "out of the danger area" several hours earlier with only slight injuries. 

msh/dj (AFP, dpa) 

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