Berlin: Several Injured, One Dead, One Arrest After Driver Ploughs Vehicle Into Crowds

A rescue helicopter lands on Tauentzienstraße at the site where one person was killed and
Getty Images

At least one person has died after a car drove through a group of people on a Berlin shopping street Wednesday morning, with police arresting the driver of the vehicle despite saying it was unclear whether the incident was deliberate or not.

Warning: this article contains images some people may find distressing. 

UPDATE 1800 BST: A deliberate act?

A “letter of confession” was found in the car involved in today’s attack , Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, and this they say rules out the possibility of the smash on one of Berlin’s best-known shopping streets as being an accident or result of a medical emergency. By way of contrast English-language German outlet Deutsche Welle notes police have yet to confirm any such confession letter.

Nevertheless, there is still no real information about the identity of the driver, other than he is a 29-year-old German-Armenian dual citizen male, nor the driver’s actual motivation for driving into groups of pedestrians this morning.

The identity of the deceased victim has not been revealed, other than to say that it was a female teacher visiting the city with a school group on a trip. The children the teacher was caring for were at the scene of the attack, which is in line with earlier reports of eyewitnesses that the driver had rammed his car into “young people”. Morgenpost reports the tenth-grade class children are among the injured.

At least twelve people were injured and some of them seriously: Berlin paramedics speak of five with life-threatening injuries.

Police officers and emergency services stand near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (Gedaechtniskirche, R) at Breitscheidplatz, at the site where a car ploughed into a crowd at Tauentzienstrasse and Kurfuerstenstrasse in central Berlin, on June 8, 2022. (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Emergency services including an air ambulance attended a scene of destruction in Charlottenburg near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on the Breitscheidplatz, near the junction between Rankestraße and Kurfürstendamm, where a car mounted the pavement around 0830 (0230 EST) and crashed into the front of a shop.

According to Berlin police, one person is thought to have died after the vehicle ploughed through a group of people, and at least eight are injured, some critically. The Berliner Morgenpost — whose offices overlook the scene of the event — cites the remarks of police spokesman Thilo Cablitz who said the force had not yet determined whether the smash was a traffic accident or a deliberate attack, but that the driver has been arrested.

The car that was droven into a group of people killing one person and injuring eight injured is pictured in central Berlin, on June 8, 2022. (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Police and emergency services secure the area after an incident. (Photo by Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The Morgenpost notes in an update to their own coverage that while no identity of the driver has been announced, they believe the owner of the vehicle involved is a German citizen.

Given the busy nature of the neighbourhood, there were several witnesses to the incident, including American Actor John Barrowman who described his instant reaction in a piece-to-camera he shared on social media. Barrowman said the incident was less like a simple collision but was more like a series of crashes. He remarked of his experience:

It’s pretty bad, guys… there’s a dead body in the middle of the road, over here are all the emergency services who are trying to help victims. There are a lot of people walking with injuries.

… the car came down onto the pavement — we had dinner in that restaurant last night — it came onto the road over there, hit somebody, has gone down the road and has come back onto the pavement… and gone through a bunch of people… and right into a storefront window.

The actor said he’d witnessed multiple fatalities, although the authorities have only confirmed one at the time of publication.

While the nature of the fatal smash remains an open question, police say, some are already making the link between the location and the incident. Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany’s highest circulation newspapers points out this morning today’s fatality occurred directly by Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz, where the 2016 Christmas Market terror attack took place.

In that case, Islamist Anis Amri drove a stolen truck into the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in an attack that killed 12. Incredibly, Amri was able to escape the scene of the attack and spent days travelling across Europe, before he was finally intercepted and shot dead in Italy on December 23rd 2016.

The body of a dead person is seen at a cordoned-off area at the site where a car ploughed into a crowd near Tauentzienstrasse in central Berlin, on June 8, 2022. – One person was killed and eight injured when a car drove into a group of people in central Berlin on June 8, the fire service said. A police spokeswoman said the driver was detained at the scene after the car ploughed into a shop front along busy shopping street Tauentzienstrasse. It was not clear whether the crash was intentional. (Photo by Adam BERRY / AFP) (Photo by ADAM BERRY/AFP via Getty Images)


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