German town mourns after 5 dead in pedestrian zone attack

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BERLIN (AP) – Residents of Trier on Wednesday laid flowers and lighted candles at the base of the city’s iconic Roman gate in southwestern Germany, in tribute to the five people who were killed and more a dozen others were injured when a man accelerated an SUV through a central pedestrian zone. His motive is not clear.

A judge ordered the suspect, a 51-year-old man whose name has not been released, to take him into custody while he is under investigation into five counts of murder and 18 counts of attempted murder. murder and bodily harm, said prosecutor Peter Fritzen. in a report.

Authorities do not believe the suspect entered pedestrians on Tuesday for a political, religious or similar reason, but have not yet been able to determine a motive, Fritzen said.

Statements the suspect made to police immediately after his arrest changed and were “partially incomprehensible,” the prosecutor said.

“The suspect also showed psychological abnormalities in his behavior during and after his arrest and in police custody,” Fritzen said. A full psychological examination has been ordered, but at this time there are no “concrete indications” of a mental health problem that would preclude holding the suspect responsible for his actions.

The man had been drinking heavily before the attack, Fritzen said. Questions will continue over the next few days.

“The victims and their families need answers,” Trier Mayor Wolfram Leibe told reporters near the makeshift memorial that grew out of the Roman gate, the Porta Nigra, near where the driver was. stopped.

Among the five people killed were a 45-year-old man and his 9 1/2 week old daughter. The man’s wife and her 1.5-year-old son were among the injured being treated in a hospital, police said.

Police initially identified the baby as a 9-month-old, but then corrected his age. The others killed were three women, aged 25, 52 and 73.

All of those killed were German citizens, and the man and his baby also had Greek nationality, Fritzen said.

Of the 18 injured, six were considered to be in serious condition. The injured included a double German-Dutch national and a citizen of neighboring Luxembourg.

Police received the first call about the attack at 1:47 p.m. and were able to apprehend the suspect four minutes later after stopping the car and blocking it.

Zigzagging through the pedestrian zone, the suspect traveled about 800 meters in total, “leaving behind a trail of deaths, injuries and rubble,” police said.

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An earlier version of this story has been corrected to show that the age of the youngest victim is 9.5 weeks, not 9 months, based on corrected information received from police.

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