'Carnage' in Berlin After Driver Hits School Group

Police are trying to determine whether deadly incident was intentional
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 8, 2022 12:09 PM CDT
Driver Slams Into Berlin School Group, Kills Teacher
Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey visits the scene where a car crashed into a crowd of people in central Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, June 8, 2022.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

(Newser) – 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 around 10:30am before getting the car back on the road and then crashing into a shop window around a block further on, police spokesman Thilo Cablitz said. Berlin's top security official, Iris Spranger, said the woman killed was a teacher on a school trip with students from the central German state of Hesse, the AP reports. Six people sustained life-threatening injuries and another three were seriously injured, said fire service spokesman Adrian Wentzel.

The driver was apparently detained by passers-by and then arrested 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." Actor John Barrowman, who was in a nearby store with his partner at the time of the crash, described the scene as "carnage."

Barrowman tells the BBC that the car crashed through tables of peope having breakfast. "It was just horrific," he says. "I saw somebody being resuscitated, I saw somebody being literally thrown onto a stretcher and put into an ambulance." Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said she was "deeply shocked" by the incident and that authorities were keeping an open mind about possible motives. Giffey said the crash brought "terrible memories" of a truck attack more than five years ago at the nearby Breitscheidplatz square. An Islamic extremist drove into a Christmas market in 2016, resulting in 13 deaths.

(Read more Germany stories.)

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