January 27, 2021

ploughs

(This Dec. 1 story corrects age of baby to nine weeks from months after police changed statement)

BERLIN (Reuters) – Five people including a nine-month-old baby were killed and up to 15 injured on Tuesday when a speeding car ploughed into a pedestrian area in the western German city of Trier in what authorities said appeared to be a deliberate act.

Witnesses said people screamed in panic and some were thrown into the air by the car as it crashed through the shopping zone.

“We have arrested one person, one vehicle has been secured,” police said, adding that a 51-year-old German suspect from the Trier area had been overpowered within minutes of the incident and was now being questioned.

Prosecutor Peter Fritzen later told a news conference the suspect had drunk a significant amount of alcohol, and authorities were not working on the assumption that there was any Islamist militant motive to the incident.

Trier Mayor Wolfram Leibe said: “It looks as if we are talking about a suspect with mental issues, but we should not pass premature judgement.”

Authorities said a more thorough assessment of the suspect’s mental health would be necessary to determine whether he could be held criminally liable.

The suspect had spent the last few nights in the vehicle and did not seem to have a fixed address, Trier deputy police chief Franz-Dieter Ankner said. He had borrowed the vehicle, which was registered in someone else’s name, and did not appear to have a police record.

Mayor Leibe said a nine-month-old baby was among the dead.

The interior minister of Rhineland-Palatinate state, Roger Lewentz, said two women aged 25 and 73 and a man, 45, all from Trier, were also killed. Later, police said a fifth person had also died, with German media reporting that the latest victim was a 52-year old woman. Several of the injured were in critical condition.

TRUCK ATTACK

The incident shocked residents of Germany’s oldest town, founded by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago.

“We have a driver who ran amok in the city,” Leibe told public broadcaster SWR.

“I just walked through the city centre and it was just horrible. There is a gym shoe lying on the ground, and the girl it belongs to is dead,” he said. He told broadcaster N-TV that people who saw the incident were “totally traumatised”.

The Trierischer Volksfreund quoted a witness as saying a Range Rover was driving at high speed and people had been thrown through the air. It said the car had Trier plates.

Officers scoured the area in search of evidence, backed by police carrying automatic weapons. In the streets, Christmas lights twinkled incongruously.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement: “The news from Trier makes me very sad. My sympathy goes to the families of those whose lives were so suddenly and violently torn away from them. I am also thinking of the people who suffered injuries, in some cases very serious ones, and I wish them strength.”

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Five people including a nine-month old baby have been killed and 15 injured after a drunk driver ploughed his car into a crowd of people in the historic centre of the city of Trier, south-west Germany.

Witnesses said people screamed in panic and some were thrown into the air by the car as it crashed through the shopping zone.

Shortly before 2pm on Tuesday a 51-year-old man turned his silver-grey SUV on to the pedestrianised Brotstrasse shopping area, police said, where he “hit and ran over people at random”.

Public prosecutor Peter Fritzen later told reporters the driver had drunk a significant amount of alcohol and there was no sign of a religious or political motive.

In a short press conference at the scene, police said the driver had been arrested and his vehicle seized.

“The car was stopped by us on Christophstrasse,” said a police spokesperson. “Inside the car was a 51-year-old German citizen from the Trier-Saarburg administrative district, who was arrested.” News outlet Der Spiegel named the driver as “Bernd W”.

Brotstrasse and Simeonstrasse, a 1km-long, straight street lined with shops and cafes that lead up to the Porta Nigra, the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps, remained sealed off on Tuesday afternoon as police searched for evidence.

Schools in the city were informed of the incident at about 2pm local time (1300 GMT) and parents were told to pick up their children rather than let them walk home on their own.

Malu Dreyer, the premier of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate where Trier is located, said she was shocked that a baby was among those killed by the driver’s “brutal act”.

“This is a terrible day,” she said, adding that her thoughts and prayers were with the child’s parents and all the other victims.

Germany has tightened security on pedestrian zones across the country since a truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market in 2016 that killed 12 people and injured dozens.

“What happened in Trier is shocking. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims, with the numerous injured and with everyone who is currently on duty to care for the victims,” wrote Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert on Twitter.

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Four people including a nine-month-old baby were killed and up to 15 injured on Tuesday when a speeding car ploughed into a pedestrian area in the western German city of Trier in what authorities said appeared to be a deliberate act.

Witnesses said people screamed in panic and some were thrown into the air by the car as it crashed through the shopping zone.

“We have arrested one person, one vehicle has been secured,” police said, adding that a 51-year-old German suspect from the Trier area had been overpowered within minutes of the incident and was now being questioned, police said.

Prosecutor Peter Fritzen later told a news conference the suspect had drunk a significant amount of alcohol, and authorities were not working on the assumption that there was any Islamist militant motive to the incident.

Trier Mayor Wolfram Leibe said: “It looks as if we are talking about a suspect with mental issues, but we should not pass premature judgement.”

The interior minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Roger Lewentz, said four people had been killed, and four severely hurt people were among the injured. He said the route taken by the driver indicated he had carried out the act on purpose.

Mayor Leibe said a nine-month-old baby was among the dead.

“We have a driver who ran amok in the city,” he told public broadcaster SWR earlier.

“I just walked through the city centre and it was just horrible. There is a trainer lying on the ground, and the girl it belongs to is dead,” he said. He told broadcaster N-TV that people who saw the incident were “totally traumatised” and the street “looks a bit like after a war”.

The incident shocked residents of Germany’s oldest town, founded by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago.

The Trierischer Volksfreund quoted a witness as saying a Range Rover was driving at high speed and people had been thrown through the air. It said the car had Trier plates.

TRUCK ATTACK

It reported that people screamed in panic when the car drove through the street.

Officers were scouring the area in search of evidence, backed by police dressed in flak jackets and carrying sub-machine guns. On the streets, Christmas lights twinkled incongruously.

Germany has tightened security on pedestrian zones across the country since a truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market in 2016 that killed 12 people and injured dozens.

In October 2019, a man opened fire on a synagogue in the city of Halle. After failing to get into the building he went on a rampage outside, killing two people.

In February this year a racist gunman killed nine migrants in Hanau near Frankfurt before killing his mother and himself. Only about a week later, a local man ploughed his car into a carnival parade in the town of Volkmarsen, injuring 61.

Germany has tightened measures to fight the coronavirus, with bars and restaurants closed, but shops and schools are still open.

“What happened in Trier is shocking.

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Four people including a baby have been killed and 15 injured after an alleged drunk driver ploughed his car into a crowd of people in the historic centre of the city of Trier, south-west Germany.



a group of baseball players standing on top of a building: Photograph: Thilo Schmülgen/Reuters


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Thilo Schmülgen/Reuters

Shortly before 2pm on Tuesday a 51-year-old man turned his silver-grey SUV on to the pedestrianised Brotstrasse shopping area, police said, where he “hit and ran over people at random”.

A public prosecutor later said the driver appeared to be drunk and there was no sign of a religious or political motive.

In a short press conference at the scene, police said the driver had been arrested and his vehicle seized.

“The car was stopped by us on Christophstrasse,” said a police spokesperson. “Inside the car was a 51-year-old German citizen from the Trier-Saarburg administrative district, who was arrested.” News outlet Der Spiegel named the driver as “Bernd W”.

Brotstrasse and Simeonstrasse, a 1km-long, straight street lined with shops and cafes that lead up to the Porta Nigra, the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps, remained sealed off on Tuesday afternoon as police searched for evidence.

Schools in the city were informed of the incident at about 2pm local time (1300 GMT) and parents were told to pick up their children rather than let them walk home on their own.

Malu Dreyer, the premier of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate where Trier is located, said she was shocked that a baby was among those killed by the driver’s “brutal act”.

“This is a terrible day,” she said, adding that her thoughts and prayers were with the child’s parents and all the other victims. Witnesses had earlier described seeing people, including a young child in a stroller, being flung into the air as the car struck them.



a group of people standing in a room: Police attend the scene in Trier, south-west Germany, after the incident.


© Photograph: Thilo Schmülgen/Reuters
Police attend the scene in Trier, south-west Germany, after the incident.

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