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Police officers examine the crime scene under a tent roof in the city center of Gummersbach

Photo: Henning Kaiser / dpa

Police officers have shot several times at an armed man in a shopping street in Gummersbach near Cologne. The 30-year-old had previously injured an officer with a knife in the face, police and prosecutors said.

The 30-year-old alleged attacker was taken to hospital and is in critical condition. An innocent passer-by was also hit by a bullet – he had suffered a gunshot wound in the thigh.

The police were called to a supermarket on Tuesday afternoon. There, the emergency services wanted to check the 30-year-old after a complaint. It was about robbery, the investigators wrote, without giving details about what happened in the supermarket.

Witnesses report screams and gunshots

How the situation then escalated, the investigators have not yet commented. They do not want to provide further information until after the evaluation of video recordings. This is not expected until this Wednesday at the earliest.

Eyewitnesses told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger that a man had been pursued by police officers. Police officers tried to stop him with a chair. Finally, shots were fired. A witness told Bild: "We heard screams outside and saw people running around excitedly in the street. Then I saw the police, and then a man with an object in his hand that looked like a knife."

The location is not far from the Gummersbach train station. There are shops and cafés in the immediate vicinity.

Cologne Police take over investigations

In the afternoon, the crime scene was cordoned off in front of a bakery, forensic specialists were on site. Bullet casings lay on the cobblestones. Bullet holes could be seen in the windows of the bakery. A tent should protect possible tracks from the heavy rain.

Because the officers of the Gummersbach police had used their service weapons during the operation, the Cologne police took over the further investigations.

A video circulated on social networks purporting to show the operation. The police only confirmed that the video was known during the investigation.