Driver who plowed into Muenster café was mentally disturbed – reports
The man behind the incident, which left at least two people dead and several dozens injured, and who committed suicide, was a German citizen, the police confirmed without going into further detail.
The Suddeutsche Zeitung, the first news group to report about the alleged identity of the suspect, said that he was a local resident in his late forties. The man was known to have some mental problems back in 2014 and 2016, the daily added. The paper also identified him as Jens R.
The Der Spiegel weekly, citing its own sources, reported that the man was a resident of Muenster and that he worked as a graphic designer. According to the FAZ daily, the man was born in the town of Olsberg, located south-east of Muenster.
The suspect has no criminal record and has not been known to police before, the media report. He also had no known links to any extremist or radical groups. The man’s motives remain unclear. The German Focus magazine reports that the suspect attempted to commit suicide not long before the incident. He shot himself immediately after Saturday’s incident.
The region’s interior minister, Herbert Reul, said that “nothing points to an Islamist motive” behind the incident.
It is unclear if the suspect had any accomplices. Following the incident, the police said it was verifying the information about some other suspects that got out of the car and fled the scene after the vehicle plowed into the café. Some German media, citing witnesses, have reported that two people left the minivan and fled after the incident. However, police also said that it is not currently looking for potential accomplices, adding that the danger is likely to be over.
#Muenster vehicle ramming UPDATE:— RT (@RT_com) April 7, 2018
- 4 dead
- 30 injured
- At least 6 in critical condition (media citing police)
- Driver committed suicide
- Motive remains 'unclear' https://t.co/X47TRqrbAGpic.twitter.com/q7dSjO8aCx
The minivan itself was registered in Jens R’s name, according to the German ZDF broadcaster. The suspect allegedly drove at high speed through the central area of the city before ramming his vehicle into the café, German media reported, adding that he even provoked panic among pedestrians at some point.
The police searched the minivan for explosives and found a “suspicious object,” according to the local police spokesman, Andreas Bode. The Rheinische Post daily then reported that the police officers allegedly conducted a controlled explosion of the object. There has been no official confirmation of this report from the police, though. It also remains unclear if the object was, indeed, and explosive device.
A police special forces unit also searched the suspect’s apartment for explosives, German media are also reporting. The results of the police raid have not yet been revealed so far.
A minivan rammed into the outdoor dining area of a popular café in the historic part of Muenster on Saturday around 15:27 (local time) (14:27 GMT). Three people were killed in the incident. Between 20 and 50 people sustained injuries, according to various sources. Six people are reported to be in critical condition.
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