- In the center of Berlin, a driver crashed into a group of schoolchildren on Wednesday. A teacher was fatally injured.
- 14 other people, including many children, were injured, some of them critically. Five are still in mortal danger.
- The driver is a 29-year-old German-Armenian living in Berlin. He was caught and is in a hospital.
- The authorities are assuming the “amoktat of a mentally handicapped person”. But investigations are going in all directions.
According to the police, the incident happened around 10:30 a.m. on Tauentzienstrasse near the Memorial Church and Kurfürstendamm in the western part of the city. At first it was not clear whether it was an intentional act or a traffic accident. The driver initially tried to flee, but was caught by passers-by and handed over to the police.
The perpetrator had previously crashed into a group of students from Hesse who were on a class trip to Berlin. The car came to a stop in a shop window. A teacher suffered fatal injuries. 14 other people, including many children, were injured, some seriously. Five of them were in mortal danger.
According to information from the DPA news agency, the perpetrator was driving his older sister’s car. He is said to have been known to the police, but not in connection with extremism. The police searched the driver’s apartment with a special task force. A homicide commission took up the investigation.
No “real letter of confession”
Berlin’s Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) spoke of the “amoktat of a mentally handicapped person.” “Documents and posters” with statements about Turkey were found in the car: “There is no real letter of confession.”
The Berlin police said in the evening that there was evidence that supported the theory of a psychological state of emergency. But this is one of several possible versions, the investigations continued in all directions. Nothing is being ruled out at the moment, police chief Barbara Slowik emphasized.
On Twitter, Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed his deep concern about the “cruel amok act”: “The trip of a Hessian school class to Berlin ends in a nightmare. We think of the relatives of the dead and the injured, including many children.”
Incident brings back memories of 2016 terrorist attack
In December 2016, an Islamist assassin drove into a Christmas market near the Memorial Church. At that time 13 people died and more than 70 were injured.
The car drove into the group of people near the corner of Kurfürstendamm, Rankestrasse and Tauentzienstrasse and then came to a stop a few meters further in the shop window of a shop on Tauentzienstrasse. The «Ku’damm», known as a shopping mile, and the Tauentzienstrasse are the center of the old West Berlin city, Charlottenburg, with many shops, restaurants and cafés.
Worship in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
Numerous people commemorated the dead and injured in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Among the guests were numerous German federal and state politicians, but also emergency services from the fire brigade and police. Many citizens also expressed their deep sympathy during the prayer.