Suspect in police custody after car runs down shoppers in German city of Trier

A 51-year-old man suspected of killing five people including a baby as his car tore through a busy shopping street in the German city of Trier has been remanded in police custody, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Suspect in police custody after car runs down shoppers in German city of Trier
Malu Dreyer (SPD), minister president of Rhineland-Palatinate, and the mayor of Trier, Wolfram Leibe (SPD), paid tribute to the victims on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

The prosecutors had said the suspect, who was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident on Tuesday afternoon, could be placed in psychiatric care.

But a judge ruled on Wednesday that he should be placed in custody, though no details were given of a possible motive.

The suspect, a native of the quaint city of Trier in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate state, is accused of five counts of murder and 18 counts of attempted murder, the judge said.

READ ALSO: Baby among five killed as car runs down shoppers in German city of Trier

He is accused of tearing through the pedestrian zone in a silver SUV, killing five people including a nine-week-old baby and injuring 18 others, six of them seriously.

The victims also included three women aged 25, 52 and 73 and a 45-year-old man — the father of the baby who was killed.

The suspect was arrested at the scene and police were able to question him but said there were no indications of a religious or political motive.

Hundreds of people gathered on Wednesday morning around Trier's Porta Nigra Roman city gate to pay tribute to the victims, despite coronavirus restrictions.

“Let us maintain this solidarity that I am experiencing here, right now, in the weeks and months to come,” Trier mayor Wolfram Leibe said.

Rhineland-Palatinate state premier Malu Dreyer condemned the “terrible event here in this beautiful city”.

“Nothing, really nothing, can justify this brutal and terrible act,” she said.

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Police deployed at German synagogue after bullet holes found

German police staged a major deployment at a synagogue in the western city of Essen on Friday after several bullet holes were found in the adjacent former rabbi's residence.

Police deployed at German synagogue after bullet holes found

Police said “four shots were fired from a loaded weapon” into the exterior of the home next to the city’s Old Synagogue but that no one was injured.

Officers were inspecting the site with sniffer dogs for any explosives.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said he was “shocked by this latest attack on Jewish life in Germany”.

“Anti-Semitism must have no place. It is our duty to protect Jewish life,” he tweeted.

Media reports said the shots were fired overnight and reported on Friday morning. They targeted a glass door at the entryway of the residence and two bullets pierced the glass.

State interior minister Herbert Reul told local media that the alleged assailant, a man, had been captured on a security camera but was still at large.

The incident came three years after a gunman killed two people in the eastern city of Halle after failing to storm a synagogue on Yom Kippur.

Before the attack, he had posted a racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic manifesto online.

Germany in May reported a new record in the number of politically motivated crimes last year, including a nearly 29-percent jump in anti-Semitic crimes to 3,027.

Seven decades after the Holocaust in which the Nazi regime slaughtered six million Jews, the vast majority of the offences — 2,552 — were attributed to the far-right scene.

Essen’s Old Synagogue was built in the early 20th century but its interior was largely destroyed by the Nazis in the November 1938 pogrom.

It underwent a thorough restoration and reopened as an expanded Jewish Culture House for interfaith dialogue in 2010.

READ ALSO: ‘We will fight for our Germany’: Holocaust survivor issues warning to far right