BERLIN: Prosecutors will seek to have a German-Armenian man accused of ploughing a car through a crowd in central Berlin kept in psychiatric care after he showed signs of mental illness, a spokesman for the prosecution said today.
The 29-year-old has shown “relatively strong” signs of suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, spokesman Sebastian Buechner said, a day after a schoolteacher was killed and 32 other people injured in the incident.
Drugs were found in the suspect’s flat, he added.
Further investigations will determine whether mental illness was the cause of the crime, but an act of terrorism is currently being ruled out, Buechner said.
The suspect is accused of driving into passers-by in a busy shopping district in the German capital, mowing down a group of teenagers and killing their teacher before crashing through a shop window.
The incident happened just across from Breitscheidplatz, where an Islamic State group sympathiser deliberately ploughed a truck into a Christmas market in 2016, killing 12.
The silver Renault Clio with a Berlin licence plate first mounted the sidewalk, hitting the secondary school students on a class trip, before returning to the road and then ramming into the front of a perfume shop.
A female teacher with the group from a school in Bad Arolsen, a small town in the central German state of Hesse, was killed and a male teacher was seriously injured.
Germany has seen several deadly car rammings since the deadly 2016 Christmas market assault, with most carried out by people who were found to have psychological issues.
Berlin interior minister Iris Spranger had on Wednesday said there was no “conclusive evidence of a political act” in Berlin and the attack seemed to have been “committed by someone suffering from psychological problems”.