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People hold banners as take part in a vigil for the victims of a shooting, in Hanau, near Frankfurt, Germany, February 21, 2020. - REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
People hold banners as take part in a vigil for the victims of a shooting, in Hanau, near Frankfurt, Germany, February 21, 2020. - REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: The suspect who is believed to have killed nine people in shootings at two bars in German city Hanau late Wednesday appears to have been mentally unstable, with deeply racist views influenced by conspiracy theories.

Found dead alongside the corpse of his mother in his home, 43-year-old Tobias Rathjen left a 24-page xenophobic “manifesto“, seen by AFP.

The document prompted King’s College London counter-terror expert Peter Neumann to label him an “incel” with far-right leanings and “what seems like a significant mental health issue.”

Here is what we know about the suspect and his motivations so far:

On his personal website, Rathjen said he was born in 1977 in Hanau, a city of 100,000 people in central Germany.

After growing up and going to school there, he trained to become a bank employee before earning a degree in business from the university of Bayreuth in 2007.

According to Der Spiegel, he had worked in different consumer financial firms, including an online comparison website based in Munich, where he rented an apartment.

Single throughout his life, Rathjen lived with his parents, both aged 72, in an apartment in a working-class district of Hanau, not far from the second of the two bars targeted in Wednesday night’s shootings.

In a video Rathjen uploaded to YouTube, he spoke into the camera from a sparsely-decorated room, a rumpled bed and shelves filled with ringbinders behind him.

Men attend the Friday prayer following a shooting, at the mosque in Hanau, near Frankfurt, Germany, February 21, 2020. - REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Men attend the Friday prayer following a shooting, at the mosque in Hanau, near Frankfurt, Germany, February 21, 2020. - REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Rathjen had a license to own weapons as a hobby marksman, and was a member of shooting clubs in both Munich and Frankfurt.

Former colleagues told Spiegel he was a loner with a “very ambitious“, “workaholic” personality, sometimes putting in 12-hour days, but with “almost zero” interpersonal skills.

The 24-page “manifesto” seen by AFP documents Rathjen’s belief from an early age that he was under surveillance by an unidentified “secret service” able to “read his thoughts.”

The author claimed that real-life events ranging from the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan to former German national coach Juergen Klinsmann’s football management career were based on his ideas.

He also claimed credit for the plots of Hollywood movies, such as “Starship Troopers” and “Look Who’s Talking“, and TV series.

“None of this can be a coincidence,” he wrote.

Rathjen said that he would often speak out loud while alone in attempts to influence world events via his invisible observers.

He also complained three times to the police about his suspicions that he was being watched, to no effect.

Former colleagues told Spiegel it was no secret that Rathjen held extremely racist views, saying “for him, (far-right party) AfD was not radical enough.”

In the document posted online, Rathjen listed races and nations he believed “must be completely destroyed“, in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, including Turkey and Israel.

“If there was a button I could press to make this happen, I would press it immediately,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, he approved of US President Donald Trump and urged “the West” to prevent China’s rise to superpower status.

The document “shows a very deeply racist attitude,” chief federal prosecutor Peter Frank told reporters in a press conference.

Rathjen wrote that “for my whole life I haven’t had a wife or girlfriend, for the last 18 years exclusively because... I know I’m being surveilled.”

He did not use the word “incel” – a contraction of “involuntary celibate” used as a label and rallying cry by men online, some of whom have turned to deadly violence.

In 2018, a man mowed down 10 people with a van in downtown Toronto, after posting on Facebook that “the incel rebellion has begun.”

A section on Rathjen’s website listing links to other webpages and videos he found interesting and important highlights an apparent obsession with conspiracy theories, esoterica and the occult.

Topics he appears to have followed include missing people, supposed experiments with alien remains and technology by the US government, illegal CIA mind-control experiments in the 1950s and 60

s known as “MK Ultra” and supposed psychic abilities.

In a video he himself posted to YouTube, Rathjen addressed “all Americans” in English, making outlandish claims about evil rituals and child abuse on secret military bases and urging people to distrust “mainstream” media. - AFP

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