Ali Sonboly: Everything we know about the Munich gunman
Ali Sonboly, Telegraph picture exclusive
by James Rothwell Justin Huggler Lexi Finnigan, Munich
23 July 2016 • 8:04pm, Telegraph
The Munich gunman was a “depressed” teenager who grew obsessed with mass shootings after being bullied at school and may have been inspired by Norwegian extremist Anders Breivik, it emerged on Saturday.[*all he had was a concealed profile on WhatsApp with Breivik as a profile picture. Muslims always troll under non-Muslim profiles]
Ali David Sonboly kept several documents about mass shootings in his bedroom, prosecutors said, and appears to have relied on a book about the Virginia Tech and Columbine massacres to plan his own attack.
The book, which was found in the 18-year-old’s backpack in the aftermath of the massacre, was entitled: “Rampage in the Head: Why Students Kill.”
It was among a sheath of documents about “frenzied attacks” that were found in his bedroom, along with several violent computer games.
Gunman used ‘books studying mass shootings to plan attack’
Written in 2010 by Dr Peter Langman, the book analyses mass shootings in American schools and attempts to explain the rationale behind the people who commit them.
Ali Sonboly killed nine people, including seven teenagers, in Munich
Dr Langman, an American psychologist, reacted to the attack on Saturday by saying that young gunmen often research other perpetrators to find a role model.
He said the book was written “to keep people safe, to teach people what to look for to prevent such attacks.”
Police in Munich said the gunman had a German translation of Langman’s book along with materials related to the 2009 Winnenden school shooting in Germany and the bomb-and-gun attacks in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people.
Langman said his book was written “to keep people safe, to teach people what to look for to prevent such attacks.”.
It comes as prosecutors revealed Sonboly had researched shooting spree techniques and may have been trying to lure his victims to the Olympia shopping centre with a Facebook post offering free food at the nearby McDonald’s.
They said it was “possible” Sonboly drew inspiration from the 2011 Norway massacre carried out by far-right extremist Anders Breiviik.
It was also pointed out that Friday’s shooting spree took place on 22 July 2016 – exactly five years to the day after Breivik’s attack on a summer camp, in which he killed and maimed dozens of people.
One German newspaper claimed on Saturday that Sonboly had changed his profile picture to an image of Breivik before he went out on what police called a “classic shooting rampage.”
But whereas Breivik relied on bombs and a Ruger-14 hunting rifle to wreak havoc, Sonboly used an unlicensed Glock 9mm pistol and was carrying 300 rounds of ammunition when his body was found. The sheer brutality of the young man, who committed suicide around a mile away from the shopping centre where he shot dead nine people, stands in stark contrast with his relatively comfortable, middle class background.
The gunman is seen on the roof of a car park.
‘Normal’ upbringing in a middle class suburb
Neighbours described Sonboly as “intelligent, quiet and shy,” an apparently normal 18-year-old.
The German-Iranian student lived comfortably in a fifth-floor apartment in the middle class Munich suburb of Maxvorstad with his parents, one of them a taxi driver and the other a department store worker.
Mostly home to immigrant families, the well-tended apartment block sits next to a luxury Maserati car dealership.
Thomas De Maziere, the German interior minister, said Sonboly’s parents were asylum-seekers from Iran who came to Germany in the late 1990s.
Prosecutors said when they tried to interview the parents on Saturday, following a raid on the apartment, both were “too shocked” to provide any useful information.
His brother – described as being “nicer than he is” by one neighbour – is yet to have spoken publicly about the massacre.
One neighbour told the Telegraph that Sonboly “seemed a decent, normal guy,” while a nearby café owner said he was “not very sporty, and a little chubby.”
He was apparently insecure about his nationality, despite being born and raised in a relatively affluent district of Munich.
A chubby, lazy and lonely young man
Like many teenagers he was also said to be “a little lazy” – and was once spotted dumping newspapers from his paper round in a bin outside his home instead of delivering them.
“One of the other neighbours told me he had psychological problems,” another local said, “but I never saw any evidence of it myself.”
Footage shows shooter open fire on people outside shopping mall in Munich Play! 00:25
In fact, Sonboly was receiving psychiatric treatment for several mental disorders, including depression, according to prosecutors.
He seems to have felt persecuted by his classmates, claiming in the immediate aftermath of the shooting that he had been subjected to a seven-year bullying campaign.
He was a “lonely teenager,” neighbours said, someone who was rarely if ever – seen playing football outside with the other teenagers his age.
He may also have felt rejected by his peers, who “blocked” him on social media networks after he sent them threatening abuse online.
Some may also have teased Sonboly about his Iranian background – the German newspaper Bild quoted one former classmate as saying that the gunman targeted “Turkish and Arab pupils” because they had bullied him particularly harshly at school.
“He was in my class back then, we always mobbed him in school,” one person who claimed to be a former classmate said of Sonboly in an online forum.
“He always told us that he would kill us.”
“No links whatsoever to Isil”
Detectives said on Saturday the gunman “had no links whatsoever” to the Islamic State.
However, they did acknowledge that Sonboly’s massacre had “an obvious link” with the 2011 Norway attack by far-right extremist Anders Breivik, who killed eight people with a bomb placed in a van and then shot dead a further 69 people at a summer camp.
The German media has described him as someone who went “amok” – that is to say, went on a “rampage” or a killing spree, rather than on a terrorist mission.
It means his actions have immediately drawn comparisons to school shootings in America.
Like Sonboly, the young men behind the 1999 Columbine massacre – the high school shooting where 12 students and one teacher were gunned down – were obsessed with violent video games.
Killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were famously infatuated with the brutal shooting game Doom, and built their own level with a layout similar to that of the school they attended.
And the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting was authored by a socially awkward loner who killed 32 people, apparently after becoming obsessed with violent films such as the Korean revenge thriller “Oldboy.”
Another example closer to home is the Winnenden School shooting in 2009, in south-western Germany.
The shooting spree resulted in 16 deaths at the hands of Tim Kretschmer, a former student who reportedly never received any treatment for his mental illness.
Like Harris and Kleboid, there is little doubt that Sonboly was computer-literate – and he seems to have been particularly active on the online video game network Steam.
The Steam network allows users to play video games together, exchanging both written messages by keyboard and talk via headsets.
Shunned by classmates
According to the German newspaper Bild, several of Sonboly’s classmates had blocked him on the network after he began sending them abusive messages.
“About a year ago we kicked him out of the [Steam] group because he kept threatening us,” a former classmate told Bild. [Notice how media does not want to reveal that the former classmate is another Muslim]
The classmate added that Sonboly was able to return to the Steam network under different aliases and continue to send them abuse.
Among the aliases used were: “Psycho,” “Until I see sense no more,” “Godlike” and “We will play this game to death.”
Then, on the day of the attack, Sonboly sent a final message to his classmates via headset: “Come to the McDonald’s and I will come and get you and shoot you.”