VIENNA – A man who had previously tried to join the Islamic State group rampaged in Vienna armed with an automatic rifle and a fake explosive vest, fatally shooting four people before he was killed by police, Austrian authorities said Tuesday.
Witnesses described dozens of screaming people fleeing the sounds of gunshots Monday night in a nightlife district crowded with revelers enjoying the last hours before a coronavirus lockdown.
Others barricaded themselves inside restaurants for hours until they were sure the danger had passed. Video that appeared to be from the scene showed a gunman, dressed in white coveralls, firing off bursts seemingly at random as he ran down the Austrian capital’s dark cobblestone streets.
While the attack lasted just minutes, authorities said only on Tuesday afternoon that there was no indication of a second attacker — adding to tension in the capital as residents were urged to stay home.
Two men and two women died from their injuries in the attack — including one German woman, according to Germany’s foreign minister. Authorities said a police officer who tried to get in the way of the attacker was shot and wounded, along with 21 other people.
The suspect was identified as a 20-year-old Austrian-North Macedonian dual citizen with a previous terror conviction for attempting to join the Islamic State group in Syria. Police searched 18 properties as well as the suspect's apartment, detaining 14 people associated with the assailant who are being questioned, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said.
“Yesterday's attack was clearly an Islamist terror attack," Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said. “It was an attack out of hatred — hatred for our fundamental values, hatred for our way of life, hatred for our democracy in which all people have equal rights and dignity.”
The attacker, identified as Kujtim Fejzulai, was armed with a fake explosive vest, an automatic rifle, a handgun and a machete, according to Nehammer. Before the attack he posted a photograph on a social media account showing him posing with the rifle and machete, Nehammer said.