Trier, 1 December 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Five people were killed after a driver in a sport utility vehicle struck several pedestrians in the German city of Trier, police said on Tuesday, in an incident that currently appears to not have a political motive.
However, the police interrogation of the chief suspect is ongoing, authorities say, with no idea as to what motivated a driver to seemingly randomly target people in the city centre.
The dead include a 9-month-old baby. The mother is currently in the hospital.
A 73-year-old woman as well as a woman and a man from Trier were also killed in the incident. Police shared that the fifth victim, a 52-year-old woman, died later on Tuesday.
Fourteen people were also injured, some of them seriously, according to police.
The state interior minister, Roger Lewentz, said that he believed the driver had intentionally targeted pedestrians, driving in “zigzag lines” to do the most damage.
The driver has been detained and a vehicle seized, police in the south-western city said. The entire incident lasted four minutes and played out on multiple streets in the downtown.
Investigators say the suspect was sitting alone in the vehicle during the incident and was not previously known to police.
The suspect is a 51-year-old German man and a local resident, according to a police tweet.
He apparently drove into people at random in a pedestrianized area near the Porta Nigra, the city’s landmark Roman city gate.
Public prosecutors Peter Fritzen said that the man was drunk at the time of the crime and had resisted arrest. Police said the man had been living out of his vehicle during the past few days.
Witnesses at the scene told dpa that people had been hurled into the air by the SUV.
The incident sparked a major response by emergency services. Large parts of central Trier were blocked off. However, police later said that there was no longer any threat to the public.
“What happened in Trier is shocking,” Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesperson, wrote on Twitter.
“Thoughts are with the families of the dead, with the numerous injured people and with all of those who were deployed in this moment to care for those affected,” he added.
More than 100 people gathered at the Trier Cathedral to pray for the victims and their families. “A terrible day for Trier is coming to an end,” said Bishop Stephan Ackermann at the late Tuesday service.