The Münich shooting incident – occurred on July 22, 2016 in the vicinity of the Olympia shopping mall – took the lives of 10 people (including the shooter himself) and injured five others. The 18-year-old David Ali Sonboly was the one who shot the victims (and himself afterward). At the time, German officials considered the case as a high-profile one, especially when law enforcement discovered that the shooter bought the Glock gun from a darknet arms vendor. Soon after the incident, investigators arrested the 32-year-old Philipp K. of Marburg. Officials in the country identified the dark web as a danger to the state and the police announced that they started focusing on darknet criminals.
The weapon dealer’s trial is expected to start in a week with the suspect facing charges, such as negligent homicide. Additionally, the evidence in the case pointed out that the 32-year-old sympathized with right-wing extremism.
Law enforcement authorities arrested Philipp K. in August 2016. An undercover investigator reached out to the 32-year-old suspect and stated that he sought to purchase a machine gun. They negotiated the price and location, however, the deal resulted in the arrest of the accused. According to the German news publication Abendzeitung, police officers found an assault rifle in the trunk of the suspect’s car. Furthermore, the 32-year-old had carried a loaded gun.
The media outlet detailed that the weapon vendor purchased firearms at cheap prices from the Czech Republic and resold them to German customers. The 32-year-old always met his customers when he sold the weapons, as was the case with Sonboly too. The arms dealer sold the Münich shooter a Glock 17 pistol and approximately 450 rounds of ammunition for 4,000 euros. They had met twice in Marburg.
The investigation showed that the 32-year-old sought to make cash with his deals quickly, but he was also fascinated by weapons and the ideology of right-wing extremism.
Law enforcement authorities analyzed the phone of the suspect and discovered WhatsApp messages between the arms dealer and a friend of his. In the messages, the suspect often greeted his friend with “Heil Hitler” – investigators also found a video of that. Furthermore, the defendant had stored the electronic version of Hitler’s Mein Kampf on his hard drive. So as Sonboly, according to the Abendzeitung, Philipp K. was inspired by the ideals of nationalism and fascism.
Regarding his life, the weapon dealer was homeless for almost a year. The 32-year-old worked in various jobs, such as a courier, a warehouse worker and a forklift driver. When homelessness again threatened him, he moved from his hometown of Cologne to his girlfriend in Marburg. Weapons accompanied him for half of his life, the news publication detailed. As a young adult, he took part in paintball and airsoft games, shooting with non-lethal ammunition.
However, when his dark web career started, the 32-year-old bought at least 19 lethal weapons from various darknet marketplaces. The investigation showed that the suspect sold or exchanged 12 firearms, including Sonboly’s Glock 17 gun that the 18-year-old used in the Münich shooting.
German law enforcement recently seized the darknet website, Deutschland im DeepWeb, where Sonboly and Philipp K. conducted their arms deal. Before the two switched to private communications, some of the messages of the Münich shooter were visible to the public.
“Hi, I’m looking for a Glock 17 with a total of 250 rounds of ammunition,” the 18-year-old wrote in one post requesting an arms dealer to contact him. Soon after the post, the 32-year-old contacted Sonboly.
The investigation of the German police showed that the 32-year-old sold weapons on other darknet marketplaces too. He faces nine counts of negligent homicide and five counts of causing negligent bodily harm, alongside the weapons charges.