Crime & Justice

Man who deliberately rammed car into Berlin crowd is mentally ill: police

Berlin, Jun 9 (EFE).- A man who drove a car into a crowd of people on a busy shopping street in Berlin, killing one person and seriously injuring six others, acted deliberately and was known to have psychological issues, Berlin police said Thursday.

“The first indications point to an intentional act by the allegedly mentally ill 29-year-old,” police said in a statement in which they confirmed that a teacher had died in the incident.

One of her colleagues was among the critically injured, while around 30 other people sustained injuries, including students from the state of Hessen who were visiting the capital on a school trip.

The man who is of Armenian origin and became a German citizen in 2015 had a police record for aggressive behavior, violent acts and property crimes, but there is no “relevant data” on him pointing to activities or links to anti-constitutional organizations, Berlin’s regional interior minister, Iris Spranger, said.

She also insisted that no “confession” or letter announcing attacks was found in the car that caused the hit-and-run, contrary to some media reports, although there were posters and writings related to Turkey.

According to “Der Spiegel”, the posters alluded to the Armenian genocide perpetrated by Turkey in 1919 and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict of last year. Sources in the Public Prosecutor’s Office indicated, however, that there is no indication of a link between these and the attack.

In the light of the ongoing investigations, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has decided to ask for his admission to a psychiatric hospital for the duration of the criminal proceedings, since he suffers from schizophrenic paranoia, according to health reports.

German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, on Wednesday night also condemned the “brutal attack”, which killed a 51-year-old teacher who was visiting the capital with a group of about 20 students, fourteen of whom were injured.

The driver was driving a metallic gray Renault Clio, owned by his sister. According to the reconstruction of events, he drove the vehicle into the school group, then returned to the road before crashing into the window of a perfume shop about 200 meters away.

He tried to flee on foot, but was restrained by passers-by and was detained by a police patrol shortly afterwards.

The attack occurred in the vicinity of Breitscheidplatz, the central square where in December 2016 Tunisian extremist Anis Amri drove a stolen truck into a popular Christmas market, killing 13 people. EFE


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