A baby girl was among “several” people who were killed and at least 15 others injured after a German man drove his SUV into a pedestrian shopping zone in the German city of Trier on Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 1).
Witnesses said the dark grey Range Rover sent people who were shopping for holiday gifts “flying into the air,” including a parent pushing a baby girl in her small carriage. The carriage went flying into the air, witnesses said.
The driver was a local 51-year-old citizen from the Trier-Saarburg district. He was captured and arrested and his vehicle was seized, police said.
Schools in the city center were immediately placed on lockdown, with children told to stay inside the buildings.
“We have a driver who ran amok in the city,” Mayor Wolfram Leibe Leibe told the SWR news outlet, describing the damage as “just horrible.” The mayor,who reportedly had difficulty controlling his tears, said the motive for the incident was not yet known. He added that the pedestrian zone, into which the attacker raced with his car, “looks like a war.”
Trier Police spokesperson Karl-Peter Jochem told BILD that “several” people were dead.
The head of the Trier police press office, Uwe Konz, could not say whether the incident was an accident or an attack: he said it is “too early to say anything about the background, whether it’s terror or the like.”
The CDU (Christian Democratic Union of Germany) state chief and CDU state parliamentary group leader expressed their shock at the “rampage,” and said their thoughts were with the injured on the spot.
“We mourn with the relatives of the dead,” they said. “We thank the helpers and rescue workers for their work. Now we have to wait for the further investigations.” Likewise, Prime Minister Malu Dreyer also expressed her condolences, and said she would “soon be in Trier.”
Malu #Dreyer: Ich bin schockiert und tief erschüttert über die Tat in meiner Heimatstadt #Trier. Mein tiefes Beileid gilt den Angehörigen der Toten. Allen Verletzten wünsche ich, dass sie bald und schnell genesen.
Danke an alle Einsatzkräfte. Ich bin gleich in #Trier. #TR0112 pic.twitter.com/IgI3iVTOHv
— Landesregierung Rheinland-Pfalz (@rlpNews) December 1, 2020
Police also released a statement telling local residents, “We currently have NO indications of an ongoing threat. The crime scene – pedestrian zone – is cordoned off and secured over a large area. We ask you to avoid the area. The crime scene work is done at full speed, as is the investigation into the background.”