Berlin, Dec 1 (efe-epa).- A 9-month-old baby was among five people killed Tuesday when a inebriated man suspected of suffering psychiatric problems drove his vehicle nearly a kilometer (0.6mi) down a pedestrian shopping street in the southwestern city of Trier, German authorities said.
“I think this is Trier’s darkest day since World War II,” Mayor Wolfram Leibe said during a press conference. “It’s a horror scene.”
The driver, identified only as a 51-year-old German national and resident of the metropolitan area, steered his Land Rover onto the pedestrian mall in the city center around 1.50 pm and witnesses said that he appeared to be trying to hit people.
After traveling roughly 900m, he made a right turn and was quickly intercepted by police, who apprehended the assailant within four minutes of the initial emergency call.
The infant, two women ages 25 and 73 and a man of 45 were pronounced dead at the scene. A fifth victim died later at the hospital.
Fifteen people, including the mother of the baby who perished, suffered injuries.
Prosecutors said that the driver had a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit and recently underwent tests for some kind of mental “disturbance.”
The Trier native has no prior criminal record, according to police, who said that the suspect’s responses under questioning showed “no indications of a political motive.”
The suspect is likely to be charged with multiple counts of homicide and attempted homicide.
While discounting any further threat, authorities told people to stay away from the area as several hundred members of the security forces deployed in the city center.
Trier is located in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, whose premier, Malu Dreyer, joined the mayor at the scene to extend condolences to all of those affected by what she described as an “insane act.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed “great sadness” about the atrocity in Trier and her solidarity with people who had loved ones “so suddenly and violently ripped from their lives,” spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
In December 2016, a Muslim extremist drove a stolen cargo truck into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and leaving dozens more injured. EFE