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German man drives car into crowd; 4 dead

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German man drives car into crowd; 4 dead

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

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BERLIN, Germany (AP) — A man zig-zagged a sport utility vehicle (SUV) at high speed through a pedestrian zone in the south-western German city of Trier yesterday, killing four people, including a nine-month-old child, and seriously injuring 15, 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.

He was being interrogated by police and was to undergo a psychiatric examination, 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.”

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. 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 hospitalised. Police said the oldest victim was aged 73.

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