Five killed, many injured after German man drives car into crowd

GERMANY-POLICE-CAR-ARREST

A man drove a car at high speed through a pedestrian zone in the south-western German city of Trier on Tuesday, killing five people – including a nine-month-old child, and seriously injuring many more, officials said.

The driver, identified as a 51-year-old German man born in Trier, was arrested at the scene and the vehicle was impounded, Trier police said.

The suspect, whose name was not released in line with German privacy laws, had no fixed address and had been living in recent days in the Land Rover that a friend had loaned him, which was used in the attack, said prosecutor Peter Fritzen, who was heading the investigation.

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This image grab taken from a video obtained from Steil-TV shows police near a destroyed pram at the scene where a car drove into pedestrians the center of Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by STEIL-TV / STEIL-TV / AFP) (Photo by STEIL-TV/STEIL-TV/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers guard evidence at the scene of an incident in Trier, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. German police say people have been killed and several others injured in the southwestern German city of Trier when a car drove into a pedestrian zone. Trier police tweeted that the driver had been arrested and the vehicle impounded.(AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Police officers are pictured at the scene of an incident in the city of Trier, Germany, Tuesday, Dec 1, 2020. German police say two people have been killed and several others injured in the southwestern German city of Trier when a car drove into a pedestrian zone. Trier police tweeted that the driver had been arrested and the vehicle impounded. (AP Photo/Sebastian Schmitz, lokalo.de)
Rescue workers and onlookers stand near the scene after a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the city of Trier in Germany, Tuesday, Dec 1, 2020. German police say two people have been killed and several others injured in the southwestern German city of Trier when a car drove into a pedestrian zone. Trier police tweeted that the driver had been arrested and the vehicle impounded. (AP Photo/Sebastian Schmitz, lokalo.de)
01 December 2020, Rhineland-Palatinate, Trier: Police and THW forces block the access to the pedestrian zone. In the afternoon a man had driven a car through the pedestrian zone of Trier, injuring and killing people. Photo: Oliver Dietze/dpa (Photo by Oliver Dietze/picture alliance via Getty Images)
01 December 2020, Rhineland-Palatinate, Trier: Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) stands in front of the entrance to the pedestrian zone for an interview. In the afternoon, a man had driven a car through the pedestrian zone of Trier, injuring and killing people. Photo: Oliver Dietze/dpa (Photo by Oliver Dietze/picture alliance via Getty Images)
01 December 2020, Rhineland-Palatinate, Trier: Minister of the Interior Roger Lewentz (SPD) and the Lord Mayor of Trier Wolfram Leibe (SPD) will hold a press conference in the evening. In the afternoon, a man had driven a car through the pedestrian zone of Trier, injuring and killing people. Photo: Oliver Dietze/dpa (Photo by Oliver Dietze/picture alliance via Getty Images)
TRIER, GERMANY - DECEMBER 01: A police car stands in Simeonstrasse pedestrian shopping street following an apparent motorist attack that so far has left two people dead, including one child, and approximately 10 injured on December 1, 2020 in Trier, Germany. According to witnesses a man driving an SUV drove through Simeonstrasse at high speed, hitting people apparently at random. Police have arrested the man and so far made no statement as to the man's motive. (Photo by Andreas Schlichter/Getty Images)
TRIER, GERMANY - DECEMBER 01: A police car stands in Simeonstrasse pedestrian shopping street following an apparent motorist attack that so far has left two people dead, including one child, and approximately 10 injured on December 1, 2020 in Trier, Germany. According to witnesses a man driving an SUV drove through Simeonstrasse at high speed, hitting people apparently at random. Police have arrested the man and so far made no statement as to the man's motive. (Photo by Andreas Schlichter/Getty Images)
TRIER, GERMANY - DECEMBER 01: A police car stands in Simeonstrasse pedestrian shopping street following an apparent motorist attack that so far has left two people dead, including one child, and approximately 10 injured on December 1, 2020 in Trier, Germany. According to witnesses a man driving an SUV drove through Simeonstrasse at high speed, hitting people apparently at random. Police have arrested the man and so far made no statement as to the man's motive. (Photo by Andreas Schlichter/Getty Images)
TRIER, GERMANY - DECEMBER 01: A police car stands in Simeonstrasse pedestrian shopping street following an apparent motorist attack that so far has left two people dead, including one child, and approximately 10 injured on December 1, 2020 in Trier, Germany. According to witnesses a man driving an SUV drove through Simeonstrasse at high speed, hitting people apparently at random. Police have arrested the man and so far made no statement as to the man's motive. (Photo by Andreas Schlichter/Getty Images)
This image grab taken from a video obtained from Steil-TV shows police and emergency workers at the scene where a car drove into pedestrians in the center of Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by STEIL-TV / STEIL-TV / AFP) (Photo by STEIL-TV/STEIL-TV/AFP via Getty Images)
This image grab taken from a video obtained from Steil-TV shows police and emergency workers at the scene where a car drove into pedestrians in the center of Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by STEIL-TV / various sources / AFP) (Photo by STEIL-TV/AFP via Getty Images)
This image grab taken from a video obtained from Steil-TV shows police and emergency workers at the scene where a car drove into pedestrians in the center of Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by STEIL-TV / various sources / AFP) (Photo by STEIL-TV/AFP via Getty Images)
This image grab taken from a video obtained from Steil-TV shows police and emergency workers at the scene where a car drove into pedestrians in the center of Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by STEIL-TV / various sources / AFP) (Photo by STEIL-TV/AFP via Getty Images)
This image grab taken from a video obtained from Steil-TV shows police and emergency workers at the scene where a car drove into pedestrians in the center of Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by STEIL-TV / various sources / AFP) (Photo by STEIL-TV/AFP via Getty Images)
This image grab taken from a video obtained from Steil-TV shows destruction at the scene where a car drove into pedestrians in the center of Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by STEIL-TV / STEIL-TV / AFP) (Photo by STEIL-TV/STEIL-TV/AFP via Getty Images)
This image grab taken from a video obtained from Steil-TV shows police covering victims in blankets at the scene where a car drove into pedestrians in the center of Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by STEIL-TV / various sources / AFP) (Photo by STEIL-TV/AFP via Getty Images)
This image grab taken from a video obtained from Steil-TV shows police standing near a destroyed pram at one of the scenes where a car drove into pedestrians the center of Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by STEIL-TV / STEIL-TV / AFP) (Photo by STEIL-TV/STEIL-TV/AFP via Getty Images)
Police stand near Christmas illuminations and a car of the Technical Relief Service (THW) as they secure a street near one of the scenes where a car drove into pedestrians the center of Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP) (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images)
01 December 2020, Rhineland-Palatinate, Trier: A police car in the evening is parked in the Christmas-lit Simeonstrasse. In the afternoon a man had driven a car through the pedestrian zone of Trier, injuring and killing people in the process. Photo: Harald Tittel/dpa (Photo by Harald Tittel/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Police officers and forensic investigators and an ambulance work at one of the scenes where a car drove into pedestrians in Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP) (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Police and ambulances work at the scene where a car drove into pedestrians in Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by Jean-Christophe VERHAEGEN / AFP) (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Police look on as rescuers push an injured person into an ambulance at the scene where a car drove into pedestrians in Trier, southwestern Germany, on December 1, 2020. - At least two people were killed and several injured when a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the southwestern German city of Trier on December 1, 2020, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by Sebastian SCHMITZ / various sources / AFP) (Photo by SEBASTIAN SCHMITZ/AFP via Getty Images)
01 December 2020, Rhineland-Palatinate, Trier: Police and emergency services are on duty near the pedestrian zone, where a car has hit several people and, according to initial findings, has fatally injured two of them. Photo: Harald Tittel/dpa (Photo by Harald Tittel/picture alliance via Getty Images)
01 December 2020, Rhineland-Palatinate, Trier: Police, fire brigade and rescue teams are on duty near the pedestrian zone where a car has hit several people and, according to initial findings, has fatally injured two of them. Photo: Harald Tittel/dpa (Photo by Harald Tittel/picture alliance via Getty Images)
dpatop - 01 December 2020, Rhineland-Palatinate, Trier: Police forces are on duty near the pedestrian zone where a car has hit several people and, according to initial findings, has fatally injured two of them. Photo: Harald Tittel/dpa (Photo by Harald Tittel/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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He was being interrogated by police and was to undergo a psychiatric examination, Mr Fritzen said, adding that a doctor had recently reached the preliminary conclusion the man could be suffering from mental illness.

"We have no indication that there was any kind of a terrorist, political or religious motive that could have played a role," he told reporters.

The suspect had also consumed a "not insignificant" quantity of alcohol before the incident and was well above the legal limit, he added.

Mayor Wolfram Leibe, who was brought to tears during the day talking about the horrific scene, said it was difficult to come to grips with what had happened.

"I can't understand how someone gets the idea to drive through the city centre with an SUV to kill people," he said.

"Kill people — a baby, nine months old to a woman 72 years old; what did these people do? They just wanted to go to the city, shop, and now they are dead."

Germany Car Crash
A square is blocked by the police in Trier (Harald Tittel/dpa via AP)

Four people were still in life-threatening danger in the hospital and five others suffered serious injuries, while another six had less serious injuries, state Interior Minister Roger Lewentz said.

Police later said one of the injured had died, but provided no further details.

The others killed were identified as a 25-year-old woman and a 45-year-old man from Trier; the baby's mother was among those in hospital. Police said the oldest victim was aged 73.

"This incident has shaken all of Germany," Mr Lewentz said.

Police were called shortly before 2pm with reports of the attack.

Mr Lewentz commended security forces on their reaction, saying that they had located the car, which had stopped at the side of the street, and taken the suspect into custody within four minutes of receiving the first call.

The driver, who was alone in the car, resisted arrest but was overpowered by police, authorities said.

In a video posted by a local media outlet purportedly showing the arrest, police could be seen pinning a man down on the pavement next to a car with Trier number plates.

Germany Car Crash
Police officers are pictured at the scene (Sebastian Schmitz, lokalo.de)

The authenticity of the video could not immediately be verified and it was taken down shortly after police tweeted a request that people do not share photos and videos of the scene.

Footage from the scene showed people outside a shop apparently helping someone on the ground lying among scattered debris.

Rhineland-Palatinate state governor Malu Dreyer, who comes from Trier, condemned the attack as a "brutal act".

"It was a really, really terrible day for my hometown," Ms Dreyer told reporters after visiting the scene.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, tweeted that the incident was "shocking".

"Our thoughts are with the relatives of those killed and with the numerous injured, and with everyone currently on duty caring for them," he said.

Trier is about 120 miles west of Frankfurt, near the border with Luxembourg. The city of about 110,000 people is known for its Roman gate, the Porta Nigra, which is near the scene of the incident, and as the birthplace of Karl Marx.

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