Axe-wielding man shot by German police before Euro 2024 soccer game in Hamburg

German police said Sunday they shot and wounded a man who was threatening them with a pick hammer and a Molotov cocktail in the northern city of Hamburg, hours before it hosted a match in the European Championship soccer tournament.

axe-wielding man shot by german police before euro 2024 soccer game in hamburg

Police officers opened fire after the man, a 39-year-old German, refused to put down the hammer and the Molotov cocktail, hitting him in the leg, Hamburg police said in a statement. The man was hospitalized with his injuries, it said. No one else was hurt.

The incident happened in the St. Pauli area of the northern port city, which thronged with fans before Sunday’s Group D match between the Netherlands and Poland. Police said the man may have been suffering from mental illness and that there was no indication that the incident was related to the Euro 2024 game. A police spokesman had earlier described the tool as an ax.

axe-wielding man shot by german police before euro 2024 soccer game in hamburg
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Police cordon off an area near the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, Germany, Sunday, June 16, 2024. German police say officers have shot and wounded a man who was threatening them with an axe and a firebomb in the northern city of Hamburg, hours before the city hosts a match in the Euro 2024 soccer tournament. Steven Hutchings/dpa via AP

German authorities have put police on high alert during the tournament, which began on Friday and runs through July 14, for fear of possible fan violence and extremist attacks.

On Friday, police fatally shot an Afghn man after he killed a compatriot and later wounded three people watching the televised game between Germany and Scotland in a town in eastern Germany. Police said Sunday that the motive for that attack was still unclear.

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