German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was “shocked” after the shooting. “I felt very sad when I heard this news,” said the leader of the Social Democratic Party.
“A single attacker shot four people, resulting in the death of a young woman from her injuries in a lecture hall,” Mannheim police said in a statement, adding that the attacker used a “long firearm”, most likely a rifle.
“The perpetrator then committed suicide,” said Stefan Wilhelm, a spokesman for the Mannheim police.
The police are based on the principle that he was a single perpetrator and therefore “there is no longer a threat”.
Investigators are currently “not aware of the message of claiming responsibility” while police have called on the public to avoid speculation.
Police announced on Twitter that they had launched a large-scale operation on the university’s Neuenheimerfield campus, urging residents not to go to the area “to facilitate access for rescue workers and emergency services”.
Heilberg is a prestigious university in the state of Baden-Württemberg, attended by about 160,000 people. The university includes departments of natural sciences, part of the university medical department and a botanical garden.
In recent years, Germany has witnessed a series of attacks, most of which were carried out by extremists or right-wing extremists.
But shootings inside educational institutions are rare in Germany, where gun control laws are among the most stringent in Europe.
In 2009, a former student killed nine students, three teachers and three passersby in a shooting in Vinenden in the state of Baden-Württemberg, before he committed suicide.
In 2002, a 19-year-old former student opened fire in a school in the city of Erfurt in central Germany, killing 16 people, including 12 teachers and two students, before he committed suicide.