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The Latest: Germany: No IS extremist ties in Muenster crash

The Latest: Germany: No IS extremist ties in Muenster crash
The Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on the vehicle that has crashed into a crowd in the German city of Muenster (all times local):

8:40 p.m.

A top German security official says there is no indication of an Islamic extremist motive in the deadly van crash in the German city of Muenster but officials are investigating all possibilities.

Herbert Reul, the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, where Muenster is located, said the driver of the van that crashed Saturday afternoon into a crowd outside a popular bar was a German citizen. He stressed the investigation is at an early stage but said “at the moment, nothing speaks for there being any Islamist background.”

Reul added: “we are investigating in all directions.”

Reul said two people were killed in the crash and the driver then killed himself. That’s lower than the figure police previously gave of three dead plus the driver. Police still say 20 people were injured in the crash, with six of them in severe condition.

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8:10 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is “deeply shocked by the terrible events in Muenster.”

In a statement, Merkel said “everything conceivable is being done to investigate the crime and to support the victims and their relatives. My thanks go to all the responders at the scene.”

A van crashed into a crowd outside a popular bar Saturday in the western German city, killing three people and injuring 20 others. The driver of the vehicle then shot and killed himself. Police are reportedly searching his apartment and checking reports of other possible accomplices who may have fled from the van at the scene.

Merkel said she is “in constant contact” with Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and other in Muenster.

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7:15 p.m.

A leading German newspaper is reporting that authorities believe there is no terrorist motive behind the deadly van crash in Muenster and the driver is believed to be a middle-aged German man who had psychological issues.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung paper also says the suspect’s apartment was being searched for possible explosives.

German officials haven’t yet indicated what they think is the motive behind Saturday’s crash into a crowd at a popular Muenster bar, which killed three people and left 20 others injured.

At the same time, police say they are checking witness reports that other perpetrators might have fled from the van at the scene of the crash.

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7 p.m.

German police say they are checking witness reports that other perpetrators may have fled from a van that crashed into a crowd in Muenster, killing three people and injuring 20 before its driver shot himself to death.

Police spokesman Andreas Bode says witnesses told them others left the van after it crashed Saturday afternoon into a crowd outside a popular bar in the western German city. The German news agency dpa reported that witnesses spoke of two others in the van besides the driver.

Bode also said police had found a suspicious object inside the van and were investigating it.

Police have urged people in Muenster to stay inside their homes and avoid the crash scene in the city’s historic downtown.

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6:30 p.m.

The mayor of Muenster says authorities don’t yet know the motive behind the van crash that killed three and injured 20 people in his western German city.

Mayor Markus Lewe told reporters that “all of Muenster is mourning this horrible incident. Our sympathy is with the relatives of those who were killed. We wish the injured a quick recovery.”

The van crashed into people sitting in front of the famous Kiepenkerl bar on a warm Saturday afternoon in the city’s historic downtown.

Police say the driver of the van shot himself to death inside the van after the crash. His identity is not yet known.

Germany’s top security official, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, said federal authorities are in close contact with officials in North Rhine-Westphalia state, where Muenster is located, and all are trying to figure out what happened.

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6:15 p.m.

Police say a suspicious object has been found in the van that ran into a crowd in the German city of Muenster, killing three people and injuring 20 others.

Police say they’re still examining what kind of an object it is and whether it’s dangerous. They say the driver of the van killed himself after running into a crowd in front of a popular bar in the western city.

Police told German news agency dpa that the object was the reason why a large area around the scene was sealed off after the crash on Saturday afternoon.

Muenster Mayor Markus Lewe says the reason for the crash is still unclear.

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6:05 p.m.

A German police spokesman says three people were killed and 20 injured when a van crashed into a crowd in front of a popular bar in downtown Muenster.

Andreas Bode told reporters the driver of the van shot himself dead inside the car after the crash Saturday afternoon. He said the driver’s identity was not yet known.

The van crashed into people sitting in front of the famous Kiepenkerl bar on one of the first spring days in the western German city.

Bode said six of the 20 injured were in severe condition.

Police said it was too early to speculate about the motive behind the crash and say they are still investigating. They have urged people in Muenster to avoid the city’s downtown area.

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5:45 p.m.

A spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel says “our thoughts are with the victims and their families” who were killed and injured when a vehicle crashed into a crowd in the western German city of Muenster.

Spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer on Twitter called the crash Saturday “terrible news.”

Police in Muenster say a vehicle crashed into a crowd in front of a pub in the city’s historic downtown area, killing and injuring people before the driver killed himself.

The German news agency dpa reports that a large-scale police operation is underway and that much of the area is cordoned off to the public.

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5:20 p.m.

Police in the western German city of Muenster say a vehicle has crashed into a crowd there, killing several people and injuring others.

The German news agency dpa has quoted police as saying the driver of that car in Muenster has killed himself.

Police tweeted Saturday afternoon that residents should “avoid the area near the Kiepenkerl pub” where a large-scale police operation is underway. Kiepenkerl is a popular bar in the city’s historic downtown area.

Further details about the crash were not immediately available.

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