German television showed pictures of heavily armed police, wearing helmets and body armor, storming the Kinopolis complex in Viernheim and a couple fleeing the building.
German media said earlier that the masked man had opened fire at the cinema complex in the small town near Frankfurt.
Police shot the man dead after elite forces stormed the complex, the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper reported, citing the interior minister of Hesse state. The man was described as “disturbed”.
Bild daily said that according to police about 25 people had been exposed to tear gas.