Two residents of Germany’s Halle who were shot dead during an attempted massacre at the city’s synagogue were identified in German media as 40-year-old music superfan Jana Lange and a 20-year-old painter worker Kevin S.
The suspect, 27-year-old German Stephan Balliet, appeared to choose the victims at random after he failed to gain access to the synagogue he had besieged with gunfire and homemade explosives, as the frightened congregation barricaded itself inside.
German media reports said Lange was gunned down outside the synagogue after she reprimanded Balliet for making so much noise near the Jewish house of worship, where Yom Kippur prayers were taking place. Lange apparently did not realise what Balliet was doing.
Lange was unable to work due to a medical condition, and devoted most of her time to attending shows and collecting autographs. Friends and German musical artists on social media mourned Lange, recalling her warmth, humour and dedication to the German pop music scene.
One of Lange’s favorite artists, Stefan Mross, paid tribute to her on Facebook, saying: “The rampage in Halle has taken our most loyal fan from us,” noting she always had “a zest for life.”
Moments after he killed Lange, Balliet went to a kebab shop around the corner where he shot Kevin S., who worked at a nearby construction site.
The 20-year-old painter and designer was described as a dedicated worker and avid soccer fan.
His mother Mandy told German media outlets that she watched Balliet’s livestream of the rampage and her son’s murder as he ate lunch.
“He had his whole life ahead of him. He was only 20 years old. I don’t know how my life is supposed to carry on,’ she told the RTL news site.
Hundreds took part in a vigil in Halle and were to join a silent march to the synagogue, where locals have left dozens of bouquets of flowers.