- Three people are dead and 20 others are injured after a van plowed into a group of people in the German city of Münster on Saturday.
- The driver of the van shot himself after the incident and was included in the casualty count. Authorities are treating the incident as a deliberate attack.
- Officials have not announced the van driver’s identity or motive, but German outlets reported that the suspect was a 48-year-old German man named Jens R.
- One news agency said the suspect had connections to the right-wing extremist scene, though there was no indication that the suspect himself was an extremist.
A vehicle drove into a group of people in the western German city of Münster on Saturday, killing three people and injuring 20, German authorities confirmed.
Herbert Reul, the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, the state where Münster is located, said the driver of the van shot himself after the incident and was one of the three people who died. BILD reported that six of the injured are in life-threatening condition.
Authorities are treating the incident as a deliberate attack,CNN reported, citing a police spokesperson.
Officials have not yet announced the identity of the driver or the motive. But multiple German media outlets reported that the suspect was a 48-year-old German man named Jens R.
The German news agency ZDF Heute added that the suspect was from the Sauerland region in North Rhine-Westphalia and had connections to the right-wing extremist scene, though there was no indication that the suspect himself was an extremist.
According to The Evening Standard, police have questioned witnesses about whether there were others in the van along with the driver, and the German media outlet DPA reported that some witnesses said there were two others in the van besides the driver.
Officials said that they are not looking for any further suspects. In addition to police, special forces were also deployed to the scene of the incident. BILD reported that there were more police forces present than usual in the city on Saturday because of a planned protest by Kurdish demonstrators that was scheduled to take place around the same time the attack occurred.
There is no evidence that either of the two events were connected.
German media outlets also said police evacuated buildings around the location of the incident because of a suspicious item that was discovered in the van.
Münster resident Daniel Kollenberg told BBC he was “shocked” by the incident and described the area as “completely under lockdown.”
He added that there was a “heavy police presence” and that “two police helicopters are in the air.”
Sky News reported that the incident occurred around the Kiepenkerl statue in old town. The statue is one of the key symbols of the city.
Local authorities from North Rhine-Westphalia said people should avoid the city center while rescue operations were underway.
Some observers posted photos of the scene shortly after the incident.
— 4NEWS – Actualités (@4NEWSFR) April 7, 2018
“Our thoughts are with the victims and their families,” a spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
Münster is 250 miles from Germany’s capital, Berlin, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has a population of roughly 310,000 people.
Münster University Hospital also began asking for blood donations after the incident.
The incident comes almost exactly one year after four people were killed when a truck drove into a crowd in Stockholm.
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