Car drives into a crowd in Berlin, one dead - Bild

A spokesperson for the German capital's fire service told Reuters around 30 people were injured.

 View of the car that crashed into a group of people before hitting a storefront at Tauentzienstrasse in Berlin, Germany June 8, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH)
View of the car that crashed into a group of people before hitting a storefront at Tauentzienstrasse in Berlin, Germany June 8, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH)

A 29-year-old man drove his car into a crowd of people in Berlin on Wednesday, killing one person as his vehicle veered onto a pavement twice in a district of the German capital popular with tourists and shoppers, police said.

Police identified the driver as a German-Armenian man, whose car eventually crashed into a shop window. He was detained by bystanders and handed over to the authorities.

"It is too early to speculate" about what caused the incident, an Interior Ministry spokesperson told a regular federal government news conference in Berlin. Police said it was not yet clear whether it was an accident or a deliberate act.

Germany's Bild newspaper said the person killed was a teacher who had been with a group of her school children in the street near to the war-ravaged Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, one of the German capital's best-known landmarks.

More than a dozen people were injured, a police spokesperson at the scene in western Berlin said. Six were in a life-threatening condition, and another three were seriously hurt, the fire service said.

First responders work at the site after a car crashed into a group of people, injuring dozens and killing at least one, at Tauentzien Strasse near Kaiser Wilhelm Gedaedtniskirche church in Berlin, Germany June 8, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH)First responders work at the site after a car crashed into a group of people, injuring dozens and killing at least one, at Tauentzien Strasse near Kaiser Wilhelm Gedaedtniskirche church in Berlin, Germany June 8, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH)

Investigators were looking into whether the incident was a deliberate attack or possibly an accident with a medical cause, a police spokesperson said, adding that the driver had received some medical treatment.

Bild newspaper released a picture of the driver being detained, wearing a yellow pullover, jogging trousers and red trainers.

More than a hundred emergency workers swarmed the scene after the incident, police said. The small silver Renault car was lodged inside a shop after smashing through a plate glass display, Reuters images showed.

Blankets covered what appeared to be a body in a cordoned-off area guarded by police. Rescue workers moved apparently conscious people on stretchers towards an ambulance, including one woman sitting up, and another who covered her face with her hand.

"I heard the bang and the crash when we were in a store, and then we came out and we just saw the carnage," John Barrowman, an actor who was at the scene, said in a video posted on his Twitter account.

The site, on a shopping street near a McDonald's restaurant, was cordoned off. Bystanders looked up at a helicopter circling above.

Berlin's mayor Franziska Giffey said she was deeply affected by the incident and said police were racing to establish what had happened.

Berlin's Mayor Franziska Giffey and Police Chief Barbara Slowik speak with police at the scene where a car crashed into a group of people and ended up plowing into a storefront near Breitscheidplatz in Berlin, Germany, June 8, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MICHELE TANTUSSI)Berlin's Mayor Franziska Giffey and Police Chief Barbara Slowik speak with police at the scene where a car crashed into a group of people and ended up plowing into a storefront near Breitscheidplatz in Berlin, Germany, June 8, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MICHELE TANTUSSI)

"The federal government has of course learned of this terrible incident in Berlin today and is very concerned and distressed about it," a government spokesperson added. "Our thoughts, our sympathy are with the injured and their relatives."

The incident took place near the scene of a fatal attack on Dec. 19, 2016, when Anis Amri, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker with Islamist links, hijacked a truck, killed the driver and then plowed it into a crowded western Berlin Christmas market, killing 11 more people and injuring dozens of others.

Amri then fled to Italy, where Italian police shot him dead.

A police spokesperson said that police had learned from the experience in 2016 in dealing with Wednesday's incident.

Precedent

The incident took place near the scene of a fatal attack on Dec. 19, 2016, when Anis Amri, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker with Islamist links, hijacked a truck, killed the driver and then plowed it into a crowded western Berlin Christmas market, killing 11 more people and injuring dozens of others.

Amri then fled to Italy, where Italian police shot him dead.