23/07/2016 11:03 BST | Updated 23/07/2016 11:50 BST

Munich Attack Gunman 'May Have Lured People To Mall With Facebook Post'

Gunman named as Ali David Sonboly, 18.

The Munich mall gunman may have lured people to their deaths with a Facebook post offering free items. 

Ali David Sonboly, 18, opened fire at a McDonald’s restaurant at the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum (OEZ) - Bavaria’s largest shopping centre - in the district of Moosach, around 6pm Friday, killing nine people and injuring 16.

Munich police investigator Robert Heimberger says it appears that Sonboly hacked a Facebook account and sent a message urging people to come to the mall for a free giveaway.

The posting, sent from a young woman’s account, urged people to come to the mall at 4 pm, saying: “I’ll give you something if you want, but not too expensive.”

Joerg Koch via Getty Images
Munich gunman Ali David Sonboly may have lured people to the mall with the offer of free items

Heimberger says: “It appears it was prepared by the suspect and then sent out.”

The woman shortly after reported that her account had been hacked, he said.

Earlier it was believed the message invited people to McDonald’s with the promise of free food. 

A reporter referred to the post at a police press conference in the wake of the shooting. According to the Mirror, the journalist asked investigators: “On Facebook there is a type game whereby at 4 o’clock in the afternoon you should be meeting in McDonald’s because something ... I believe this is a fake game where people are asked to congregate at McDonald’s because McDonald’s might be offering free meals.”

Munich police president Hubertus Andrae replied: “As to whether this may be connected with the crime we have to investigate that.

“At the moment it’s simply impossible to say that. It is one part of the rather comprehensive investigation that we are conducting with the federal police forces.”

Sky News
The shooter opened fire at McDonald's before taking aim at pedestrians

The newspaper said Sonboly had been linked to a Facebook account that was set up a day before the shooting with messages luring people to McDonalds.

His father is said to be helping police with inquiries while his home is being searched.

Public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk reported that most of those killed were aged 15 to 21 years. A 45-year-old woman was also killed, BR reported without citing sources.

At least three of the victims appeared to be of Kosovo-Albanian origin, according to Facebook posts from family members. Their identities have not been officially confirmed, the Associated Press reported. 

Munich has large communities of people who fled the Balkan wars in the 1990s but like many German cities has in recent years also become home to a diverse mix of people from many different countries, including Iran.