Thursday 22 June 2017

'It was not a terrorist act' - police shoot at driver of truck 'loaded with gas cylinders' speeding towards Barcelona city centre

Police work at the scene of a gas cylinder delivery truck with bullet holes in its windscreen after police fired shots to stop the driver, whom they say had stolen the truck and was driving against traffic, in Barcelona, Spain, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Albert Gea TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Police work at the scene of a gas cylinder delivery truck with bullet holes in its windscreen after police fired shots to stop the driver, whom they say had stolen the truck and was driving against traffic, in Barcelona, Spain, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Albert Gea TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An investigator is seen inside a gas cylinder delivery truck with bullet holes in the windscreen after police fired shots to stop the driver, whom they say had stolen the truck and was driving against traffic, in Barcelona, Spain, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Albert Gea
An investigator is seen inside a gas cylinder delivery truck with bullet holes in its windscreen after police fired shots to stop the driver, whom they say had stolen the truck and was driving against traffic, in Barcelona, Spain, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Albert Gea
An investigator is seen inside a gas cylinder delivery truck with bullet holes in its windscreen after police fired shots to stop the driver, whom they say had stolen the truck and was driving against traffic, in Barcelona, Spain, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Albert Gea
A gas company worker unloads gas bottles from a delivery truck with bullet holes in its windscreen after police fired shots to stop the driver, whom they say had stolen the truck and was driving against traffic in Barcelona, Spain, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Albert Gea
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Police in Spain say they have detained a man driving a truck with butane gas tanks at high speed against the flow of traffic on a major route in Barcelona.

Local media are reporting that officers stopped the driver with gunshots.

A regional police spokeswoman said the truck was travelling on the Roda del Litoral motorway near the city's harbour at around 11am local time.

National television channel TVE said the truck rammed several cars before police fired several shots to stop it.

The truck was finally stopped just off a slip-road after police shot through the rear windscreen of the vehicle.

Police arrested a man at the scene and have now launched an investigation.

The police spokeswoman would not confirm the gunshots but said the driver was being interrogated.

The stolen truck was loaded with gas cylinders and to have been speeding along the road, according to local media.

Counter-terrorism police are understood to be looking for a potential motive.

One policeman shot the lorry cab’s front window and brought the driver to a halt. During the chase some of the gas containers fell off the trailer, with one person reported injured by a falling canister.

Police have said that the driver had stolen the vehicle and sped off, ignoring signals to stop. It was eventually stopped after taking a slipway in the wrong direction.

Pictures posted online by the Catalan police appear to show police surrounding the truck and a man being arrested at the scene.

The arrested man is reported to be a Swedish national. He has been taken to a medical facility for psychological examination.

An eye-witness, who works in the nearby Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, spoke to the local media.

“We heard sirens and then a very loud noise. We looked out and saw how the butane truck braked suddenly in the highway entrance," told La Vanguardia.

"It was going in the wrong direction.

“Two motorcycles from the [local police] Guardia Urbana were following him. They dismounted and aimed their handguns at the driver.

"He spread his arms and straightaway three Mossos [Catalonia police force] tackled him. In a question of minutes police appeared from all directions, some with machine guns. In five minutes they led him away in handcuffs.”

Spain’s interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, has moved to reassure people the incident was not terror related.

 tweeted: “The arrested driver of the stolen gas truck in Barcelona has a record of psychiatric problems. It was not a terrorist act”

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