BERLIN (AP) — A man drove a car into a German school group standing in a popular Berlin shopping district Wednesday, killing a teacher and seriously injuring nine people, authorities said.
The man drove into people on a street corner at around 10:30 a.m. before getting the car back on the road and then crashing into a shop window around a block further on, police spokesman Thilo Cablitz said.
Berlin’s top security official, Iris Spranger, said the woman killed was a teacher on a school trip with students from the central German state of Hesse.
Six people sustained life-threatening injuries and another three were seriously injured, fire service spokesman Adrian Wentzel. Police said more than a dozen people were injured.
The driver was apparently detained by passers-by and then arrested swiftly by a police officer who was near the scene, Cablitz said. He said police are trying to determine whether the man deliberately drove into pedestrians or whether it was an accident, possibly caused by a medical emergency.
Police later tweeted that the driver was a 29-year-old German-Armenian who lived in Berlin.
Spranger said posters were found in the man’s car “in which he expressed views about Turkey.”
American-British actor John Barrowman, who was in a nearby store with his partner at the time of the crash, described the scene as “carnage.” Large numbers of police and first responders were at the scene, he said.
Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said she was “deeply shocked” by the incident and that authorities were keeping an open mind about possible motives.
Giffey said the crash brought “terrible memories” of a truck attack more than five years at the nearby Breitscheidplatz square. An Islamic extremist drove into a Christmas market in 2016, resulting in 13 deaths.
In a 2019 incident in central Berlin, an SUV plowed into a group of pedestrians, killing four people. The driver had suffered an epileptic seizure and veered onto the sidewalk.