BERLIN — The killing of a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party in central Germany this month is being treated as a possible act of terrorism, with federal prosecutors taking over the investigation on Monday after the arrest of a man with reported links to neo-Nazis.
The federal authorities take over cases that are thought to be politically motivated and pose a nationwide threat. The prosecutor’s office is expected to release more details regarding the case later Monday, but German news media reported that the main suspect had a history of neo-Nazi activity.
The victim, Werner Lübcke, 65, a member of the Christian Democrats who served on a regional council, was found shot in the head on his terrace on June 2. Investigators quickly ruled out a suicide and had initially focused on a personal motive for the killing, though he was known to have provoked the ire of the far right for suggesting in 2015 that anyone who did not support taking in refugees could leave Germany.
On Sunday, the police in the central state of Hesse said that DNA evidence had led them to arrest a 45-year-old man in the killing, though no further details were released. German news media reported that the man, who has not been identified, had ties to active neo-Nazis and a criminal record that included attacks on leftist demonstrators and possession of illegal weapons.
The death of Mr. Lübcke set off a chorus of jubilation among some members of the far right on social media, a response that President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany condemned as “cynical, tasteless, despicable and in every way disgusting.”