The public prosecutor in Cologne released several court documents that indicated the testimonies provided in the defense of a darknet weapons vendor had likely been fabricated. Family members of the vendor had seemingly practiced their statements before giving them to the authorities. Several days after the release of the documents, reporters spotted police vehicles and helicopters at the family’s houses and apartments.
After 18-year-old David Ali Sonboly shot and killed nine people (and wounded five others) and then killed himself, the German Federal Criminal Police Office quickly discovered the shooter’s connection to the darknet—he had purchased his 9mm Glock 19 and 450 rounds of ammunition from a vendor on the darknet forum “DIDW.” They also found and arrested the vendor very shortly after the shooting occured. The arrest details surrounding the arrest stayed mostly quiet. Police let the public know that they had apprehended the suspect. They eventually revealed that the vendor and undercover investigators had been working together in an effort to catch other darknet gun buyers and sellers.
His life on the police’s leash seemed set in stone until he handed his passwords over to the police. They quickly reopened the case and, instead of only charging the vendor, Philipp K., with Weapons Act violations, they also charged him in connection with the Munich shooting. Prosecutors said that he could have known that Sonboly had planned an act of violence.
Evidence came out during the trial that indicated the vendor had known not only that Sonboly was unstable and likely to cause harm with the gun, but also that Sonboly had planned to attack innocent civilians in Munich. Chat logs between the man’s vendor account on DIDW where he went by “Rico” and Sonboly’s account revealed that the vendor had known far more than he had told the police.
Months later, after the vendor’s hearing had been moved for the fourth time, the vendor’s family entered the spotlight as one of his family members accused another family member of knowing about the shooting before it happened. Undercover investigators found similar evidence. All of which indicated that the vendor, Philipp K. aka Rico, had known of the attack beforehand.
And then, not long before as many as eight police cars rolled up to the family’s house, undercover investigators revealed that they had gathered pertinent information from the vendor’s brother’s cell phone. They discovered that he had bought a weapon from the vendor. And furthermore, they heard that one family member had bragged to another family member that they had known ahead of the shooting. “So he did it,” one said. The person also bragged about giving shooting advice to both Philipp K. and Sonboly. Undercover investigators believe the gun trafficking incident that led to the death of nine victims in Munich runs far deeper than the public already knows. The weapons trafficking itself may involve multiple members of the family.
The public prosecutor’s office in Cologne refused to answer questions about the police cars that secretly surrounded the family’s house. Given recent developments, though, further arrests would not be surprising.