After the death of a 29-year-old near the Berlin Memorial Church, the police are investigating the perpetrator's vehicle. Reports of a letter of confession in the car are denied by the Berlin Senator for the Interior. For security reasons, the nearby Europa Center will also be cleared.
Several hours after a driver drove into a group of people in Berlin, the Europa Center was partially cleared on Wednesday afternoon. The reason is the closer examination of the perpetrator's car, which was opposite the large shopping center on the other side of Tauentzienstraße. It's just a precautionary measure in case there's anything dangerous in the car, police said.
Berlin's Senator for the Interior, Iris Spranger, denied reports of a suspected letter of confession in the vehicle. "There is no real letter of confession," she said after visiting the scene. However, posters with statements "about Turkey" were discovered in the car. The interior senator initially gave no further details.
The driver's motive is not yet entirely clear, but it is said not to have been political. The "Bild" newspaper quoted an investigator: "Definitely not an accident - a gunman, an ice-cold killer." A police spokeswoman did not initially confirm this. According to the fire department, one woman was killed in the incident, six people were critically injured and three people were seriously injured. There were also several minor injuries.
At 10:26 a.m., the perpetrator drove into a group of people on the sidewalk at the Berlin Memorial Church on Ku'damm and then crashed 200 meters further into a shop window. A woman was killed and several people were injured. The woman killed by a car driver in Berlin was a teacher from Hesse who was visiting the capital with a school class. That's what Berlin's Interior Senator Iris Spranger said. Year 10 students were also present at the incident. It was initially unclear whether students were injured. The driver - according to the police a 29-year-old German-Armenian - was arrested. The police are investigating whether it was an accident, a medical emergency or a deliberate act.
In December 2016, an Islamist assassin drove into a Christmas market near the Memorial Church near the site of the current events. At that time, twelve people died and more than 70 were injured.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his dismay after the fatal car incident in Berlin. "My thoughts are with the seriously and very seriously injured, with the fatality," he said. "And they are with those who had to experience terrible things. My deepest sympathy goes to them, all their relatives and survivors."
The Federal President was not in Berlin himself, but had moved his official residence to Rottweil in Baden-Württemberg for a few days. It was there that he found out "with great dismay" about the terrible incident on the popular shopping street near the Memorial Church.