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Motorist Plows Into German Crowd, Kills 2, Fatally Shoots Self


Police vans stand in downtown Muenster, Germany, April 7, 2018, after a motorist's attack on a crowd.
Police vans stand in downtown Muenster, Germany, April 7, 2018, after a motorist's attack on a crowd.

Two people were killed and numerous others were injured when a vehicle was driven into a crowd Saturday in the northwestern German city of Muenster. A third fatality occurred when the driver shot himself inside the vehicle, police said.

Police spokesman Andreas Bode said investigators are checking witnesses’ reports that two additional people may have fled the vehicle. He also said police are investigating a suspicious-looking object found inside the vehicle.

Officials say six of those hurt in the incident are in critical condition.

Authorities said the victims were a 51-year-old woman from northern Germany and a 65 year-old man from Broken, near Muenster. Prosecutor Martin Botzenhardt said the driver is probably a 48-year-old man from Munich, however, they have no information on a possible background for the crime.

The area where the vehicle drove into the crowd is popular for its shops and cafes, and its proximity to the city’s historic cathedral. The targeted area appears to have been the outside seating area of a popular cafe where a number of patrons were enjoying a warm spring afternoon.

'Muenster mourns'

Muenster Mayor Markus Lewe told reporters that "all of Muenster mourns over this horrible thing," expressing compassion for the families of those killed and wishes for a swift recovery for those injured. He said any motive for the attack was not known.

A spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel called reports of the event "terrible news." Merkel released a statement saying she was "deeply shocked by the terrible events in Muenster."

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said federal officials were communicating with their counterparts in Muenster to figure out what happened.

The incident happened in the old part of the city, near a famous 19th-century statue of a traveling salesman, known as the "Kiepenkerl," which became a Twitter hashtag referencing the event.

Germany has been on high alert for terror attacks since a truck crashed into a Christmas market in Berlin two years ago, killing 12 people.

Saturday was also the one-year anniversary of an attack in Stockholm, Sweden, in which a truck crashed into a crowd of people in front of a department store. Five people died in that attack. The attacker claimed to be a member of the Islamic State terror group.