KC residents with ties to Germany shocked at Munich terror attack

Posted at 9:37 PM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 23:33:40-04

As news of a terror attack in Munich spread around the world on Friday, those with ties to Germany in the metro area suddenly worried about loved ones in the city.

Kansas City resident Mel Miller, who was stationed in Munich while in the military, said he first thought about his family members.

"First thing was whether my relatives or my friend were in that area," he explained.

Investigators said the attack began around 6 p.m. German local time when shots were fired near a shopping mall and McDonald's restaurant.

Miller hoped his niece and nephew, who live a short drive from where the terror began, weren't near the violence.

"It's different if you've been there and you know the place," he explained. "They live in a different area, so you feel a little better, but you're still not sure."

As of Friday night, Miller had yet to make contact with his niece and nephew. However, he believes the two likely stayed away from the area.

German translator Doris Ganser, who works in Belton, grew up in Germany and knows Munich well. She said she was shocked that a violent attack happened at such a nice area of the city.

"It is absolutely incredible that somebody would choose that place," Ganser explained.

With the attack happening on a Friday around dinner time, Ganser said the area was likely crowded with people heading out for the night.

"There are also restaurants so that people can go there at night," she said. "It was with great shock that I heard that somebody would attack women and children right there."

Others around the metro area, like Hannes Poetter, followed news of the attack while they were at work.

Poetter, who lives in Paola, grew up in Hamburg before moving to America over 40 years ago.

On Friday, he read articles and watched newscasts from various outlets around Germany. He said after all the recent terror attacks across the globe, he knew his home country might be targeted.

"Whether it's Orlando, Nice, Paris or Munich, we're getting kind of used to the tragedies," Poetter said.

Investigators believe an 18-year-old German-Iranian who lived in Munich for more than two years was behind the attack. According to police, the man committed suicide following the violence.

Miller hoped to reach out to his niece and nephew on Saturday to make sure they were OK.

"I'm sure they know we're thinking about them and that we're concerned about them," he explained.



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