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NI holidaymaker's fear as Munich went into lockdown

By Angela Rainey

Published 25/07/2016

A holidaymaker from Northern Ireland caught up in the panic which swept Munich in the immediate aftermath of Friday's mass shootings has described the terror of the attack.

Jerome Burns from South Tyrone was on holiday in the German city and said that he was first alerted to the attack, which killed nine people, after a relative at home sent him a message through social media.

The attack at the Olympia shopping complex in the north-western Moosach district was carried out by troubled 18-year-old Ali Sonboly, who later turned the gun on himself.

It is thought the teenager was obsessed with mass shootings and that he may have deliberately planned the attack to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the lone wolf terrorist attacks by Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway.

Mr Burns told the BBC that he was at a railway station when news of the shootings broke, then panic ensued.

"We were buying train tickets when suddenly there was a massive alert," he said.

"People were running all over the place. We were all bundled out, down a back door into the bottom of the railway station, where we were kept for about half an hour.

"The station at that stage was closed - all the public transport was closed - and we were told to get back to our hotel as quickly as we could."

Mr Burns said the situation was "all the more frightening" as he could not understand enough German to fully grasp what was going on. "We didn't really understand what was being said," he added.

"It was really manic coming out of the station, police everywhere, stations absolutely evacuated, ambulances and lights all over the place, total panic."

Speaking from his hotel, he said that he and the other guests were coming to terms with the incident and were still "in a state of shock".

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