Monday, 18 October 2021

Police stumped by motives of German van attacker


Members of the state office of criminal investigation in North Rhine-Westphalia are seen at the crime scene in the inner city of Muenster, Germany on April 8. EPA-EFE

BERLIN: German investigators were puzzled Sunday morning by the motives of a man who drove a van into a crowd at an open-air restaurant the day before, killing two people before shooting himself.

“So far there are no clues to a possible motive for the act,” said Martin Botzenhardt, senior prosecutor in the northwestern city of Muenster where the attack happened, in a statement issued in the early hours.

“We are pressing hard on our investigation into all possible avenues.”

Late Saturday, authorities were near-certain that there was no Islamist connection to the violence in the historic centre of Muenster as had initially been feared.

The two people killed were a 51-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man, both from northern Germany.

As well as the dead, police said 20 were injured – six of them seriously – amid the broken and upturned tables and chairs seen strewn across the pavement in images of the scene.

Police had to wait for a bomb disposal team to clear the vehicle used in the attack after noticing suspect wires inside.

In the end, they found only the weapon used by the 48-year-old driver to kill himself, a blank-firing pistol and some powerful fireworks.

A search of the man’s Muenster apartment late Saturday turned up more fireworks and a deactivated AK47 assault rifle.

Police have appealed to the public for information about the attack, setting up a website where people can upload photos or videos.

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