Masked gunman shot dead inside German movie theater

Authorities in New York City deployed extra police officers to movie theatres after a masked man was shot dead Thursday after entering a movie theater in southwestern Germany.

The man had a weapon and took several hostages, authorities said. No one else was injured.

An armed man entered the Kinopolis movie theater in the early afternoon in the town of Viernheim and apparently fired a gun, police spokesman Bernd Hochstaedter told n-tv television.

Police shot the suspect dead about three hours later, Hesse Interior Minister Peter Beuth said.

"We believe that there were no injured people, and that the people who were in the cinema with the perpetrator could be freed uninjured," he said.

A police spokeswoman at the scene, Christiane Kompus, told The Associated Press that she had no information on the assailant's identity and motives.

She said the man had been holding several hostages, but didn't have a precise number.

Beuth said it wasn't clear whether the weapon was real. He told the regional legislature in Wiesbaden that the man was masked and that apparently four shots were fired.

Beuth said the man had given a confused impression, news agency dpa reported.

While there is no known threat to New York City theaters, Commissioner Bill Bratton said critical response command units were being deployed in response to the incident.

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