Even one day after the deadly incident in the west of the capital, the dismay is great. Like Chancellor Olaf Scholz before him, Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey classifies the event as an “amoktat” and speaks of a “dark day in Berlin’s city history”.
However, the background has not yet been fully elucidated and the investigation is ongoing. An overview.
On Wednesday morning, at around 10:30 a.m., a man drove a car into a group of people on the sidewalk on Kurfürstendamm near Berlin’s Rankestrasse. He then drove back onto the road, only to drive onto the sidewalk again after about 100 meters. From there he crossed Marburger Straße in his car and shortly afterwards drove into a shop window, where he finally came to a halt.
Immediately after the incident, the fire brigade and police were at the scene with a large contingent, and the police arrived with 130 emergency services. A rescue helicopter landed on the median of Tauentzienstraße.
Who are the victims?
A woman was killed in the rampage. She is a 51-year-old teacher from Hesse. She was visiting Berlin with a tenth grader from a secondary school from Bad Arolsen in northern Hesse in the Waldeck-Frankenberg district.
According to Giffey, seven of the 24 students from Bad Arolsen in northern Hesse are currently in the hospital. There were a total of six life-threatening injuries and three serious injuries, the head of government said on Thursday morning on RBB Inforadio. According to the Berlin fire brigade, there is also an unknown number of slightly injured people.
What do we know about the driver?
The driver is a 29-year-old German-Armenian. He was arrested and questioned immediately after the crime. The man is said to be Gor H., who is registered in Charlottenburg. The car – a Renault Clio – is said to belong to his sister, who also lives in Charlottenburg.
According to police and witness statements, he is said to have made a confused impression after leaving the car. At the same time, witnesses reported that the driver drove purposefully into the group of people.
After his arrest, he was identified by the federal police at the zoo because he had no papers with him. According to several sources, the driver is said to be known to the police and has been accused of theft.
What is the background of the incident?
Like Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) the previous evening, Giffey emphasized the diffuse picture that currently emerges from the background. The police investigations made it clear “that it was a case of an amok attack by a severely mentally impaired person”. With the help of an interpreter, an attempt is made to “find out more from the sometimes confused statements that he makes”.
The suspect’s sister and owner of the crime vehicle told a “Bild” reporter: “He has serious problems.” According to the newspaper, neighbors were amazed “that he is capable of such a day”.
Just a few hours after the incident, security circles had assumed a rampage. A suspicion of terrorism was not confirmed, and the investigators cannot identify a political motive. In the afternoon, a police spokeswoman contradicted a media report that a letter of confession was found in the car. She declined to comment on the driver’s motive.
Witnesses claim to have seen anti-Turkish posters in the vehicle. Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) confirmed in the afternoon that posters with statements “about Turkey” had been discovered. She did not give any further details, but also emphasized: “There is no real letter of confession.”
The police investigations are conducted by a homicide commission – not by state security, which would be responsible for a politically motivated crime. As early as Wednesday, special forces had searched the driver’s apartment in Charlottenburg, among other things.
What are the reactions from politics?
In addition to Prime Minister Giffey and Interior Senator Spranger, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (all SPD) also expressed dismay at the death drive. “The horrible shooting on Tauentzienstrasse affects me deeply,” he tweeted: “The trip of a Hessian school class to Berlin ends in a nightmare. We think of the families of the dead and the injured, including many children. I wish you all a speedy recovery.”
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) wrote on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon: “I am shocked and deeply affected by the terrible incident in Berlin. My deepest sympathy goes to the families of those who died. I wish everyone who was injured gets well again. I would like to thank the emergency services who are fighting for the lives of the seriously injured.” Accordingly, she is “in constant contact” with Berlin’s Senator for the Interior, Spranger.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also expressed dismay. “My thoughts are with the seriously and very seriously injured, with the fatality,” he said on Wednesday. “And they are with those who had to experience terrible things. My deepest sympathy goes to them, all their relatives and survivors.”