14 injured, 1 dead after car ploughs into crowd in Berlin
At least one person has been left dead and more injured after a car crashed into a crowd in the district of Charlottenburg in Berlin on Wednesday. A man has been detained.
Car drives into crowd on shopping street in Berlin
According to police, at around 10.30am on Wednesday morning, a car left the road and struck a crowd of people on Tauentzienstrasse, a major shopping street in Charlottenburg, close to Kurfürstendamm.
The vehicle apparently drove into people on a street corner before returning to the road and crashing into a shop window several hundred metres away. The driver was detained by passersby until the police arrived.
One person died in the incident and 14 children were injured, some of them seriously. The victims were all reported to be part of a school group visiting Germany's capital city from the state of Hesse. "Their teacher died at the scene," Berlin police wrote on Twitter. "Their loved ones have been informed and are being cared for."
German police suggest alleged perpetrator may be "mentally ill"
On Wednesday, police said they were still trying to determine whether it was a traffic accident or an intentional act, but on Thursday Berlin's top security official, Iris Spranger, said the "evidence suggests this is a case of a mentally ill person running amok."
Bild cited a criminal investigator as saying the crash was "in no way an accident" and that the driver - who has been identified as Gor H according to German privacy rules - was "running amok."
H is said to have both Armenian and German citizenship and has been a resident of Berlin for more than 10 years. He was known to the police for a number of minor offences, but not for holding extremist political or religious views. Investigations are being conducted by the homicide branch of the police, and not by state security, which would get involved if it was deemed to be a politically motivated crime. Police have refuted claims that a "confession letter" was found in the vehicle.
Police ask public to submit videos as evidence
Police have asked members of the public to restrain from posting images of the incident on the internet. "We ask witnesses to send information and media files about what happened in #Tauentzienstrasse to our information portal," they tweeted. "Please do not distribute any footage from the site of the event on the internet."
Berlin's Mayor, Franziska Giffey, said she was "deeply shocked" by the crash and that authorities were keeping an open mind about possible motives. She said the incident brought back "terrible memories" of the Breitscheidplatz truck attack.
The incident took place close to Breitscheidplatz, where in 2016 11 people were killed and dozens more injured after an Islamist extremist hijacked a truck and drove it into a crowded Christmas market.