New details have emerged about a man who allegedly zig-zagged an SUV at high speed through a pedestrian zone in Germany, killing five people, including a nine-week-old baby girl.
Police said a 51-year-old German man was arrested in the southwestern city of Trier about 2pm (local time) on Tuesday after a car rammed pedestrians, killing women aged 25, 52 and 75, and a nine-week-old baby and her 45-year-old father.
It is believed his wife and their one-year-old son were also of the 15 injured and taken to hospital.
Four people were still in life-threatening danger in the hospital and five others suffered serious injuries, while another six had less serious injuries
Driver ‘drunk’ during Trier incident
The suspect, whose name was not released in line with German privacy laws, had no fixed address and was living in the Land Rover used in the alleged attack.
Prosecutor Peter Fritzen, who was heading the investigation, said the suspect had borrowed the car from a friend.
After being ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination, Mr Fritzen said a doctor recently reached the preliminary conclusion the man could be suffering from mental illness.
They don’t believe the alleged attack was a terrorist plot or part of a political or religious motive.
Mr Fritzen added the suspect also consumed a “not significant” quantity of alcohol before the incident and was well above the legal limit.
The driver, who was alone in the car, resisted arrest but was overpowered by police, authorities said.
In a video posted by a local media outlet purportedly showing the arrest, police could be seen pinning a man down on the sidewalk next to a car with Trier licence plates.
Disturbing video emerges after Trier crash
In another video shared on Twitter apparently from the scene, people outside a shop are seen helping somebody on the ground lying among scattered debris.
As the three people gather around the person on the ground, sirens can be heard wailing in the background.
The camera pans to a smashed up car on the sidewalk with what appears to be a police car next to it.
Mayor Wolfram Leibe, who was brought to tears talking about the horrific scene, said it was difficult to come to grips with what had happened.
“I can’t understand how someone gets the idea to drive through the city centre with an SUV to kill people,” he said.
“What did these people do? They just wanted to go to the city, shop, and now they are dead.”
Germany crash condemned as ‘brutal act’
Rhineland-Palatinate state governor Malu Dreyer, who comes from Trier, condemned the attack as a “brutal act”.
“It was a really, really terrible day for my hometown,” Dreyer told reporters after visiting the scene.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted the incident was “shocking”.
“Our thoughts are with the relatives of those killed and with the numerous injured, and with everyone currently on duty caring for them,” he said.
Trier is about 200 kilometres west of Frankfurt, near the border with Luxembourg.
The city of about 110,000 people is known for its Roman gate, the Porta Nigra, which is near the scene of the incident, and as the birthplace of Karl Marx.
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