Irish man killed by police in Germany

Hamburg police confirm they fatally shot man while responding to family incident

Hamburg police have confirmed they fatally shot an Irish man after they were called to a family incident in the German port city on Wednesday.

Police received an emergency call at 9.54am from a woman, a Russian citizen, claiming her ex-husband had broken into her apartment, in Kreetortring, south of the city centre. She told the emergency dispatch operator the man was threatening her and her two-year-old.

“When our colleague arrived, the man threatened them with a knife, didn’t want to put it down and tried to stab them,” a police spokesman told The Irish Times.

A police officer fired a shot and the 34-year-old man died at the scene a short time later. The 32-year-old woman was uninjured, as were the child and the police officers. All are receiving psychological treatment.


Hamburg police said that because a shot had been fired by one of its members and a man was dead an inquiry was under way.

“With regard to the use of police firearms, officials from the internal investigations department will also investigate,” it said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of the case and was providing consular assistance. Initially the dead man was reported in the German media as being British. Police sources in Hamburg said he was a dual Irish and British citizen.

Such shootings are relatively rare in Germany. In 2017, 14 people were killed and 39 were injured by police during such standoffs.

The last such case in Hamburg, in the autumn of 2017, caused headlines when police shot a knife-wielding patient in a psychiatric facility who was threatening doctors and other patients with a knife.

Derek Scally

Derek Scally

Derek Scally is an Irish Times journalist based in Berlin

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times