German chancellor condemns deadly car-ramming incident in Berlin
Berlin, Jun 8 (EFE).- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned an incident Wednesday morning in which a motorist rammed his vehicle into a crowd of people at a busy shopping district in this capital, killing one and leaving six in critical condition.
A 51-year-old female teacher leading a class of teenagers on a school trip from the central-western state of Hesse died at the scene and several of the students were injured.
The driver of the car was a 29-year-old man with dual German and Armenian citizenship who lives in Berlin and was arrested at the scene.
“The cruel rampage on Tauentzienstrasse leaves me deeply saddened,” Scholz wrote on Twitter.” The trip of a Hesse school class to Berlin has ended in a nightmare. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the dead and the injured, including many children. I wish them all a speedy recovery.”
On Wednesday night, Berlin Interior Affairs Minister Iris Spranger said the car-ramming was a deliberate act by a person who likely was suffering from mental illness.
As part of their investigation, police have already searched the driver’s home and also are investigating his sister, who is the owner of the car used in the attack.
A political motivation also should not be ruled out, according to regional public broadcaster Rbb, which reported that writings and signs related to Turkey were found inside the vehicle – a silver Renault Clio.
A pregnant woman who suffered a broken hip and several members of the school group from Hesse – including another teacher – were among the 10 people injured. Nine people were hospitalized, six in critical condition and three in serious condition.
The incident occurred near Kurfurstendamm Avenue at around 10:30 am local time.
After running over a crowd of pedestrians and crashing the car into a shop window, the man tried to flee on foot but was stopped by several people.
The driver’s actions suggest a deliberate targeting of pedestrians.
The man first veered the car into the school group. Then after returning to the road, he drove the vehicle onto the sidewalk a second time and traveled a distance of around 200 meters (655 feet) before crashing into the shop window of a cosmetics shop.
Around 60 fire department personnel and several medical teams were deployed to the area to treat the injured, several of whom were airlifted to hospital.
Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey recalled from the scene that this latest incident occurred near Breitscheidplatz, the central square where Tunisian extremist Anis Amri killed 12 people when he deliberately rammed a stolen truck into a popular Christmas market in December 2016.
A religious service that was held Wednesday night in honor of the victims recalled similar ceremonies in that same district after the 2016 attack. EFE