Driver hits school group in Berlin; teacher killed, 9 people injured
Man arrested as police try to determine if crash was deliberate or caused by medical emergency
WARNING: This story contains graphic images of death.
A man drove a car into a German school group standing in a popular Berlin shopping district Wednesday, killing a teacher and seriously injuring nine people before quickly being arrested, authorities said.
The man drove into people on a street corner at around 10:30 a.m. local time, got the car back on the road and then crashed into a shop window about a block away, police said. The driver was apparently detained by passersby and then arrested by a police officer near the scene.
Berlin's top security official, Iris Spranger, said the woman killed was a teacher on a school trip to the German capital with secondary school students from the central German state of Hesse.
Authorities spent hours working to determine whether it was a deliberate attack or an accident. On Wednesday evening, Spranger made it clear on Twitter that authorities now believe it was the former, describing it an "amok act by a psychologically impaired person."
Six people sustained life-threatening injuries and another three were seriously injured, said fire service spokesperson Adrian Wentzel. Police said 14 students from Hesse were among those who sustained injuries of varying severity, but didn't give a total tally.
American-British actor John Barrowman, who was in a nearby store at the time of the crash, described the scene as "carnage."
IN PHOTOS | Scenes from the crash:
Driver arrested, taken to hospital
Police said the driver was a 29-year-old German-Armenian man who lived in Berlin.
Spranger said posters were found in the man's car which "expressed views about Turkey." She said there was "no claim of responsibility."
Spranger told regional public broadcaster RBB that Germany's domestic intelligence agency had no immediate information on the man and said authorities were still checking whether he was previously known to police. He was taken to a hospital.
Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said she was "deeply shocked" by the incident, which she said brought back "terrible memories" of a truck attack more than five years ago at the nearby Breitscheidplatz square. An Islamic extremist drove into a Christmas market in 2016, resulting in 13 deaths.
In a 2019 incident in central Berlin, an SUV plowed into a group of pedestrians, killing four people. The driver had suffered an epileptic seizure and veered onto the sidewalk.
A memorial service for the people killed or injured Wednesday was held in the evening at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on the Breitscheidplatz, next to the scene of the crash.