Thursday 15 November 2018

German attack: Angela Merkel 'deeply shaken' as police try to work out motive behind van driver's actions

  • Two people killed, around 20 injured
  • Van driver shot himself dead after attack
  • Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "deeply shaken"
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said "France shares in Germany's suffering"
People stay in front of a restaurant in Muenster, Germany, Saturday, April 7, 2018 after a vehicle crashed into a crowd (Stephan R./dpa via AP)
People stay in front of a restaurant in Muenster, Germany, Saturday, April 7, 2018 after a vehicle crashed into a crowd (Stephan R./dpa via AP)
Police gather in downtown Muenster, Germany, Saturday, April 7, 2018. A vehicle crashed into a crowd Saturday in the western German city of Muenster, killing three people and injuring 20 others. The German news agency dpa has quoted police as saying the driver of that car in Muenster has killed himself. (Bernd Thissen/dpa via AP)
Rescuers stand in downtown Muenster, Germany, Saturday, April 7, 2018. A vehicle crashed into a crowd Saturday in the western German city of Muenster, killing three people and injuring 20 others. The German news agency dpa has quoted police as saying the driver of that car in Muenster has killed himself. (Bernd Thissen/dpa via AP)
Ambulances in downtown Muenster, Germany Photo: (dpa via AP)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

German investigators were trying to work out why a man drove a camper van into a group of people sitting outside a restaurant in the western university city of Muenster on Saturday, killing two people before shooting himself dead.

The vehicle ploughed into people seated at tables outside the Grosser Kiepenkerl eatery, a popular destination for tourists in the city's old town.

Forensic police combed the scene on Sunday after investigators named the victims as a 51-year-old woman from the Lueneburg area in northern Germany and a 65-year-old man from the Borken area near Muenster.

"According to the current state of the investigation, the driver is probably a 48-year-old man from Munich," senior public prosecutor Martin Botzenhardt said in a joint statement with Muenster police.

"So far there are no indications of a possible background for the crime. The investigations are being conducted at full speed and on all fronts," he added.

The perpetrator shot himself after crashing the silver-grey coloured van into the outside area of the restaurant, police said.

People stay in front of a restaurant in Muenster, Germany, Saturday, April 7, 2018 after a vehicle crashed into a crowd (Stephan R./dpa via AP)
People stay in front of a restaurant in Muenster, Germany, Saturday, April 7, 2018 after a vehicle crashed into a crowd (Stephan R./dpa via AP)
Police vans in downtown Muenster Photo: (dpa via AP)
Police block a street near a place where a vehicle drove into a group of people Photo: Reuters

Read more: Germany latest: Police 'investigating all possibilities' after van crashes into crowd, killing two and injuring 20

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported in its online edition that the perpetrator was Jens R., 48, who resided some 2 km (1.2 miles) from the crime scene.

Broadcaster ZDF said police were searching his apartment and that he had contact with far-right extremists, but there was no evidence thus far that he was a far-right extremist himself.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the man had psychological problems. The Interior Ministry in North Rhine-Westphalia would neither confirm nor deny the report.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement she was "deeply shaken". On Saturday evening, the White House issued a statement sending U.S. President Donald Trump's "thoughts and prayers" to the families of those killed.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: "All my thoughts are with the victims of the attack in Muenster. France shares in Germany's suffering".

Reuters

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