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., got the car back on the road and then crashed into a shop window about a block away, Berlin police spokesman Thilo Cablitz said.
Berlin’s top security official, Iris Spranger, said the woman killed was a teacher on a trip to the German capital with students from a secondary school in the Germany’s 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.
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.”
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.”
Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said she was “deeply shocked” by the incident but cautioned against drawing premature conclusions.
“Before speculating, I think it’s important at this stage to really let the police and fire service conduct their investigation,” the mayor said. “We want the greatest possible transparency, but we also want reliable information.”
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.
Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.