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Hostage situation in Dresden, Germany, ends with suspect dead and hostages freed

German police help a person into a police car near a shopping mall in the center of the city of Dresden, Germany, on Saturday.
Jens Schlueter
/
AFP via Getty Images
German police help a person into a police car near a shopping mall in the center of the city of Dresden, Germany, on Saturday.

German police say hostages are free and the suspect is dead after a man took two people hostage at a mall in the eastern city of Dresden on Saturday.

Around 10:50 a.m. local time, authorities evacuated the city center, including parts of its Christmas market, after reports of shots fired near downtown Dresden.

Police brought in a group of negotiators and were able to get in contact with the suspect during the operation.

The hostage situation was resolved about two hours later, according to police reports. The two victims appeared to be physically unharmed. Authorities added that a 40-year-old suspect died after suffering fatal injuries during the rescue.

Officials have since lifted the street closure. But the Altmarkt-Galerie, a shopping center in Dresden, is still closed.

Earlier on Saturday, police also found the body of a 62-year-old woman in a Dresden apartment building. Police believe the same man is responsible for the hostage-taking as well as the homicide. The 62-year-old woman is the suspect's mother, police said.

The suspect also attempted to storm into the Radio Dresden radio station and fired shots near the station's premises, the station reported. Police have not yet confirmed.

Police are also searching for a possible third victim who was assaulted by the suspect on Saturday. Officials believe that the suspect spat, hit and kicked a woman before a nearby cyclist intervened and stopped the altercation. They are also looking for the cyclist or other witnesses who can provide details about the incident or the suspect.

Esme Nicholson contributed reporting.

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Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.