'Racist' man attacks group of schoolchildren at Bielefeld train station
A 39-year-old man attacked a group of schoolchildren with irritant gas at a train station in North Rhine-Westphalia, telling police he is 'a racist' following his arrest.
A group of ten 12-year-old students, as well as their teacher, were injured in the attack, which took place at Bielefeld's main train station on Wednesday afternoon, reported police on Thursday.
Eight of the children were sent to a nearby hospital, while two were taken to a children’s clinic to be treated for more severe injuries.
The police arrested the perpetrator on the spot, after which he confessed to the crime, according to police spokesman Carsten Bente.
"I felt disturbed by the children, and I am also a racist," the man said, according to the spokesman of the Federal Police.
The attack occurred abruptly after the children had already boarded the train. They were traveling from Cologne and headed to a youth hostel in Bielefeld, according to fire chief Thomas Brüggemeier.
The fire brigade sent 30 emergency workers and three doctors to the scene. As an immediate measure, the students’ eyes were washed with a special solution. Three of them also suffered from shortness of breath.
The man was under the influence of alcohol when he committed the attack, according to police. He is now awaiting multiple charges of bodily harm.
An open arrest warrant for embezzlement has been previously issued against the man.
The Bielefeld train station was closed for about an hour following the attack, reopening its doors at around 1:15 pm. Rail service was not affected.
The attack follows an incident in Frankfurt in July, in which an 8-year-old boy died after being pushed in front of an oncoming train by a stranger. Germany has been reviewing security at its train stations.