After the rampage in downtown Trier with several dead, the alleged perpetrator is now in custody. The city’s district court issued an arrest warrant against the 51-year-old accused “because of the urgent suspicion of murder in five cases as well as attempted murder and dangerous bodily harm in 18 other cases,” as announced by the Trier public prosecutor and the Trier police headquarters.
Three women aged 25, 52 and 73 as well as a 45 year old man and a nine and a half week old child were killed in the rampage. 18 other people were injured, six of them seriously. The baby’s mother survived and, according to the authorities, is in the hospital as well as her one and a half year old son.
The man’s motive is still unclear, according to prosecutors and police. In his previous interrogations by homicide officers, the accused had given “changing and partly incomprehensible information” from which “neither a comprehensible motive for the crime nor details of the course of events could be derived.
The suspect’s questioning will continue for the next few days. So far there have been no indications of any political, religious or similar motives.
The accused was under the influence of alcohol and is said to have lived in the car the days before. A breath alcohol test carried out after his arrest showed a breath alcohol concentration of 1.4 per mille. A blood sample was taken from him to further investigate his alcoholism. The accused “also showed psychological abnormalities in his behavior during and after the arrest and in police custody,” the public prosecutor and police said in a statement. A psychiatric expert is therefore commissioned to assess the 51-year-old’s guilty capacity. So far, however, there are no concrete indications “for a complete exclusion of culpability”.
According to the previous investigations, the man had targeted people in the Trier pedestrian zone early Tuesday afternoon in a Land Rover SUV. According to the Interior Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Roger Lewentz (SPD), he zigzagged his car in the city center. About four minutes after the first emergency call, police officers were able to arrest the driver.
Mayor Wolfram Leibe (SPD) spoke of the blackest day for the city in post-war history after the rampage. The victims were commemorated at the Trier landmark Porta Nigra. In Trier Cathedral, around 100 people prayed for the dead, the injured and their relatives on Tuesday evening.
After the act, the city center was cordoned off for further investigations. During the night, the crime scene work was completed and the pedestrian zone was opened again.
++ This article was updated at 3:23 p.m. ++