Car drove into pedestrians in the city of Trier killing at least four people including a young girl
Affected Countries: germany;
At least four people are dead and up to 15 injured after a car drove into pedestrians in the German city of Trier in what police say was a deliberate attack.
A 51-year-old German man was arrested on Tuesday afternoon after the car drove more than half a mile through the city’s main pedestrian area, which usually hosts a popular Christmas market.
Trier mayor Wolfram Leibe told regional broadcaster SWR that the driver had gone on ‘a rampage’ that had killed several people, but authorities said the motive was not yet clear.
A witness told local paper Trierische Volksfreund that a dark grey Range Rover had driven at high speed into pedestrians, sending some people ‘flying into the air’.
Leibe said some of the injured people were seriously hurt and in hospital, saying he was hoping for their survival, but German media says the death toll has already risen from two to four.
His voice breaking with emotion, the mayor appeared to say that a young girl had been killed, saying he had seen one of her shoes at the scene.
The car was stopped and the driver arrested at the scene, police said, with footage published by German media appearing to show him being pinned to the ground next to his damaged vehicle.
Trier police spokesman Karl-Peter Jochem, said the driver -a German national who lives in the Trier area – had ‘indiscriminately’ run people down after driving into the pedestrian area.
One witness who watched the ‘rampage’ from a shop on the pedestrian street described seeing a children’s buggy being flung into the air, saying people had run indoors in panic.
Police said the numbers of dead and injured were still becoming clear, but said more than 10 had been injured and that the death toll was already higher than the two that was first announced.
In addition to the injured people, there were many other ‘traumatised’ pedestrians who had witnessed what happened, the mayor said.
‘We often see pictures like this on television and think that can’t happen here. Now it’s happened in Trier,’ the mayor told reporters near the city’s emblematic Porta Nigra, an old Roman gate.
Police said there was no further danger to Trier residents, suggesting that the driver had acted alone.
Another police spokesman, Uwe Konz, said that it remained unclear what exactly happened, saying ‘the background (to the incident) still needs to be clarified’.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman called today’s news ‘shocking’ and said the government’s thoughts were with the injured people and relatives of victims.
Officers warned people to avoid the scene, and said they are on the scene alongside ambulance crews, while helicopters were also hovering over the city.
Footage showed police vans and other emergency vehicles parked on a wide shopping street in Trier, a large section of which appeared to have been cleared.
Shoppers were seen huddling outside stores festooned with Christmas decorations, while sirens could be heard in the distance. Emergency services from nearby Luxembourg were also said to be on the scene.
While Trier is usually home to one of Germany’s most popular Christmas markets, the event was cancelled this year because of the pandemic.
While bars and restaurants have closed under a so-called ‘lockdown light’ to bring down infections, shops and schools have remained open, unlike during the spring.
The incident brought back memories of the 2016 truck rampage at a Berlin Christmas market that left 12 people dead.
The driver on that occasion, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker, was a supporter of the Islamic State jihadist group.
In August 2019, six people were injured in a series of motorway accidents in Berlin in what prosecutors described as a suspected Islamist attack.
Source: Daily Mail