A senior government official said in Germany said that a man has been arrested by police authorities in northern Germany after he drove his silver Mercedes into a crowd. The incident was a suspected racist attack that injured four people.
The man, who is 50 years old, left the scene which occurred on New Year’s Eve in a crowded plaza that is located in the northwestern town Bottrop. In a statement, the police said that he even made racist comments when he was arrested.
Without disclosing more information, the police said that Afghans and Syrians are among the people who were injured because of the indent. One of the four people is still confined in the hospital.
A spokesperson for the police stated: “Investigators suspect it was a deliberate attack that may be linked to the xenophobic views of the driver.”
He added: “In addition, investigators have preliminary information about a mental illness of the driver.”
They said that there was also a preliminary report that the man was mentally ill, however, they found that he had no prior police record.
The interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, Herbert Reul, stated: “A German man deliberately drove into crowds of people… that were largely made up of foreigners.”
He concluded: “There was a clear intention by this man to kill foreigners.
Earlier during the day, the man steered his car at another pedestrian who was able to escape the car. The police said that he also targeted other people at a bus stop in the nearby city of Essen after the attack.
In an interview with the Bild newspaper, the federal interior minister of Germany, Horst Seehofer, said that the Bottrop case would be investigated carefully, along with an incident that happened in Bavaria last Saturday in which four asylum-seekers were detained on suspicion of attacking a dozen people.
He told the paper: “It is a matter of political credibility to pursue both cases decisively and aggressively.”