At least two people died on Saturday when a vehicle rammed into a crowd of people dining outdoors at a restaurant in the western German city of Muenster, before the driver then shot himself.
Local newspaper Westfälische Nachrichten reported the vehicle drove at high speed into a crowd enjoying warm weather in the city's old town.
A police statement confirmed that two people died, a 51-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man, who were both German, while 20 people were injured, some seriously. Previous reports had put the death toll at three.
The suspected driver had shot himself, Bode said. Herbert Reul, the interior minister of the North Rhine-Westphalia state, told the local public broadcaster the driver was among the dead.
Reul also said the offender was a German man with no Islamist background. Multiple earlier reports had said the man had mental illness.
On Sunday morning, local police confirmed that the suspected driver, who has not yet been named, had no accomplices and was acting alone.
"According to the current state of the investigation, the driver is probably a 48-year-old man from Münster," said prosecutor Martin Botzenhardt.
According to multiple news reports, police were investigating a suspicious object found in the van, as well as following up on witness reports that other perpetrators may have fled the scene. As of Saturday night, however, German officials still had not released any further details about the driver or identified an possible motives for the attack.
On Twitter, police told people to avoid the area near the Kleiner Kiepenkerl restaurant, saying there had been deaths and injuries.
"We are on site with all our force," police wrote. "You can help us by avoiding the area and please do not speculate."
"At the moment, rescue workers are tending to the injured," police added.
In a photo from the scene shared on Twitter, the restaurant's outdoor seating appeared scattered and smashed by a vehicle.
"All of Münster is appalled by the human-despising violence that has struck our city out of the blue," said Muenster mayor Markus Lewe.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement that she was "deeply shocked by the terrible events in Muenster."
"Everything conceivable is being done to investigate the crime and to support the victims and their relatives," she said, adding that she was in "constant contact" with local officials and Germany's Interior Minister.
The Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, said he was dismayed at the incident, and that federal authorities were working with local police.
"A sad, a terrible day for our country!" tweeted Armin Laschet, the prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Muenster is located.
The owners of the Kiepenkerl bar — the storied Muenster pub whose outside tables were plowed into by the van attack Saturday — also expressed their shock and condolences.
The day "began so beautiful, sunny and cheerful - and suddenly became black and horrible," they wrote in a Facebook post. "Our thoughts are with the dead, injured and their families. We wish we were able to console them."
They added that no employees were injured in the crash.
This isn’t the first time a vehicle has been driven into a crowd in Germany.
In Dec. 2016, a truck intentionally crashed into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 and injuring 48 others.
The attacker, who had posted a video pledging allegiance to ISIS, was later killed in a shoot-out with police.
In a statement Saturday night, the White House said that President Donald Trump had been briefed on the incident and offered condolences to the victims.
"While the German authorities have not yet announced a motive for this cowardly attack on innocent people, we condemn it regardless, and pledge any support from the United States Government that Germany may need," the statement said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates or follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.
Source link : https://www.buzzfeed.com/davidmack/germany-muenster-munster-vehicle-van-crowd-pedestrians
Publish date : 2018-04-08 10:18:45