4 dead as car drives into pedestrian area in Trier, Germany

By GUY DAVIES, ABC News(LONDON) –At least four people have died after a car drove into a pedestrian area in the city of Trier, Germany, on Tuesday.

In the wake of the attack, two were pronounced dead, but officials confirmed four people had died — including an infant — and at least 15 were injured. Four of those remain in the hospital with life-threatening injuries, officials said.

Police said the male driver, a German citizen who was arrested on the scene, had a high blood alcohol content and there was reason to believe he was mentally ill.

“We arrested one person and one vehicle was seized,” Trier Police posted on Twitter. “According to initial findings, two people have died. Please continue to avoid the city center.”

The driver, a 51-year-old from Trier-Saarburg, was driving a Land Rover, and investigators said he may have been living in the vehicle.

The authorities have called on the public to avoid the city center and avoid spreading speculation about the incident.

There is no ongoing threat. The pedestrian zone — which in verified footage from the scene appears to be a shopping district in the center of Trier — has been cordoned off. Trier lies just inside the German border with Luxembourg, and the suspect is a 51 year-old from the Trier-Saarburg.

Police tweeted a map of the driver’s 900-meter path — about half a mile — through the city, swerving into pedestrians.

Officials said there did not appear to be a terror or political motive in the incident.

Roger Lewentz, interior minister of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, seemed to condemn speculation online that it had been an Islamist attack, while not saying so directly.

“The perpetrator is from the region with a German background and we can already see on the internet that there are certain speculations, which nobody here will confirm,” Lewentz said.

An official said the man had recently been psychologically evaluated by a doctor at the health ministry.

“I am shocked and deeply shaken by the crime in my hometown #Trier,” Malu Dreyer, a local lawmaker, said in a statement. “My deepest sympathy goes to the relatives of the dead. I wish all the injured will recover soon and quickly.Thanks to all the emergency services. I will be in #Trier soon.”

The investigation is still ongoing, and the Trier Police spokesperson told ABC News it was “way too soon” to establish a motive.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.