On February 24th, a car ramming incident took place in the German city of Volkmarsen, Hesse state.
Police spokesman Henning Hinn said “there were several dozen injured, among them some seriously, and sadly also children.” Some of the injuries were life-threatening, he added. The number of those seriously injured was put at seven by Frankfurt police.
Hinn continued: “We are working on the assumption that it was a deliberate act.”
According to information released by German police, the driver is a German citizen, he is 29 years old and comes from the surrounding area. He is reportedly from the city itself, a city of approximately 6,800 people.
The Hessian Ministry of the Interior said that he is currently not available for questioning. According to previous knowledge, the man drove at high speed.
The 29-year-old, is under investigation for an attempted homicide. The spokesman for the General Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt announced. The motive is still unclear:
“We are investigating in all directions,” the Prosecutor’s office said.
German news website HNA cited witnesses as saying the driver appeared to have deliberately targeted children and had driven “at full throttle” into the crowd, which had gathered for the Shrove Monday procession.
“At least 30 people are injured, some of them severely,” according to the spokesman. Earlier, police said that young children were among the wounded.
The spokesman said he could not confirm the driver’s motive for the incident. Police said earlier that the driver of the car had been arrested.
The interior ministry of the federal state of Hesse said in a statement that the suspect ”drove at high speed.” It added that the man in the custody ”is currently not interrogatable.”
“Due to the situation on site, an attack currently cannot be ruled out,” the statement added.
The ministry said that a special unit had been set up in the Frankfurt Police Headquarters to handle the incident, and that the police presence had been strengthened across Hesse.
Elmar Schulten, a reporter for the local newspaper Waldeckischen Landeszeitung, told CNN the incident happened near the town’s train station.
He said he “saw a silver Mercedes had broken through the police blockage” and “headed directly to the crowd.”
“I counted up to 15 people laying in the street and the walkway. Several small children laying and crying,” Schulten added. At least four or five helicopters were picking up patients from the site, he said.
Volksmarsen is a small town with roughly 6,000 residents, located near Kassel, in the north of the federal state of Hesse in central Germany.
All carnival events across Hesse were canceled on Monday after the incident in Volkmarsen. North Hessen Police said the move was a precaution.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted: “Our thoughts are with the injured by #Volkmarsen. We hope that everyone will recover well and quickly. And from the bottom of my heart thanks to the emergency services on site.
Unsere Gedanken sind bei den Verletzten von #Volkmarsen. Wir hoffen, dass alle gut und zügig wieder genesen. Ihnen, ihren Angehörigen und allen, die bei dem #Rosenmontagszug waren, ganz viel Kraft. Und von Herzen danke den Einsatzkräften vor Ort.
— Heiko Maas 🇪🇺 (@HeikoMaas) February 24, 2020
North Hesse police’s official Twitter account said: “We are on site with a large contingent. The investigation is ongoing. As soon as reliable information is available, we will publish it here.”
Der Fahrer wurde festgenommen.
Wir sind mit einem großen Aufgebot vor Ort. Die Ermittlungen zu den Hintergründen laufen.
Sobald gesicherte Informationen vorliegen, veröffentlichen wir diese hier.
— Polizei Nordhessen (@Polizei_NH) February 24, 2020
In southern Hesse state, in Hanau, a deadly shooting attack took place by a suspected far-right extremist on February 19th.
The suspect, a 43-year-old man killed himself, police said. He was found dead at his home along with the body of his mother.
Local media have identified the suspect as Tobias R, a German citizen. The Bild tabloid reports he had a firearms license, and that ammunition and gun magazines were found in his car.
Authorities are examining a video that appears to be from the suspect, posted online days before the attacks, in which he expresses right-wing conspiracy theories. German media say he also left a letter of confession.
The attack comes amid growing concerns about far-right violence in Germany. Speaking in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “Racism is a poison. Hate is a poison and this poison exists in our society and is already to blame for many crimes.”
It is unclear what the motives behind the man who drove his car into people in Volkmarsen is, and it is unclear if he has any right-wing or jihadist views.
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- 11 Dead After Two Shootings In Hanau, Germany, How Much Is Enough For EU?
- Symptom Of A Disease: Far-Right Group Arrested In Germany For Plotting Attacks