Berlin: Driver who ploughed into crowds killing teacher and injuring school children ‘may have been mentally ill’

·3-min read
Berlin: Driver who ploughed into crowds killing teacher and injuring school children ‘may have been mentally ill’

A driver who ploughed into crowds in Berlin killing a teacher on a school trip and injuring 14 school children, may have been mentally ill, acording to a politician in charge of policing.

The driver was said to be a 29-year-old German-Armenian living in the German capital. The suspect was arrested by police at the scene and has been named in German media as “Gor H”.

The car was travelling at around 150kmh (93mph), according to Bild.

Children from the central German state of Hesse were among those hurt, police said.

Germany: Car ploughs into crowd killing at least one person in Berlin

"Their teacher died at the scene," Berlin police wrote on Twitter. "Their loved ones have been informed and are being cared for."

Iris Spranger, a Berlin state senator who oversees the police, wrote on Twitter that “according to the latest information” the attacker may be a “mentally impaired person.”

Bild reported that one pregnant woman had suffered a hip fracture and another man received an open thigh fracture in the collision. A 16-year-old girl was also taken to the hospital with a traumatic brain injury.

Six people have sustained life-threatening injuries and another three were seriously injured, fire service spokesman Adrian Wentzel said.

The incident took place on Rankestrasse near the main shopping district’s Breitscheidplatz, the scene of Berlin’s 2016 Christmas market attack in which 11 people were killed.

According to police, a man drove into people on a street corner at around 10.30am local time before getting the car back on the road and then crashing into a shop window around a block further on.

The driver, who recieved some medical treatment, was detained and was being questioned.

Police are trying to determine whether he deliberately drove into pedestrians or whether it was an accident, possibly caused by a medical emergency.

About 130 emergency workers attended the scene, officers said, adding: “The vehicle, a small car, was secured on site.”

Pictures from the scene showed blankets covering what appeared to be a body in a cordoned-off area guarded by police.

Rescue workers moved injured people on stretchers towards an ambulance.

Actor John Barrowman was also on the scene and he posted footage.

He said: “It’s really pretty bad guys ... There’s a lot of police, there’s a dead body in the middle of the road.”

He added: “There’s all the emergency services trying to help victims and people.

“The police presence is unbelievable. They are clearing out the area but it was cordoned off, I heard the bang and the crash when were in a store and we just saw the carnage.”

Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey tweeted she was "deeply shocked by this incident."

John Barrowman was among those at the scene (John Barrowman)
John Barrowman was among those at the scene (John Barrowman)

According to Bild, the man had been driving a small Renault car.

The paper also reported that according to eye witnesses, the driver allegedly initially attempted to run away before being held by passers-by who handed him to police.

The incident took place near the scene of a fatal attack in December 2016, when Anis Amri, an unsuccessful asylum seeker with Islamist links, hijacked a truck, killed the driver and then plowed it into a crowded Christmas market, killing 11 more people and injuring dozens of others.

Amri then fled to Italy, where Italian police shot him dead.

A police spokesperson said that police had learned from the experience in 2016 in dealing with Wednesday's incident.

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