NEWS
07/04/2018 16:00 BST | Updated 08/04/2018 09:22 BST

Two Killed And 20 Injured After Van Drives Into People In German City Of Muenster

The driver killed himself just after it happened.

German investigators were trying to work out why a man drove a camper van into a group of people sitting outside a restaurant in the western university city of Muenster on Saturday, killing two people before shooting himself dead.

The vehicle ploughed into people seated at tables outside the Grosser Kiepenkerl eatery, a popular destination for tourists in the city’s old town.

Forensic police combed the scene on Sunday after investigators named the victims as a 51-year-old woman from the Lueneburg area in northern Germany and a 65-year-old man from the Borken area near Muenster.

Reuters
Police block a street near a place where a vehicle drove into a group of people killing several and injured many in Muenster.

“According to the current state of the investigation, the driver is probably a 48-year-old man from Munich,” senior public prosecutor Martin Botzenhardt said in a joint statement with Muensterpolice.

“So far there are no indications of a possible background for the crime. The investigations are being conducted at full speed and on all fronts,” he added.

The perpetrator shot himself after crashing the silver-grey coloured van into the outside area of the restaurant, police said.

Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters
Police carry restaurant tables in front of the traditional guesthouse 'Grosser Kiepenkerl', where a man drove a van into a group of people sitting outside the popular restaurant in the old city centre of Muenster.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported in its online edition that the perpetrator was Jens R., aged 48, who lived some 2 km (1.2 miles) from the crime scene.

Broadcaster ZDF said police were searching his apartment and that he had contact with far-right extremists, but there was no evidence thus far that he was a far-right extremist himself.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the man had psychological problems. The Interior Ministry in North Rhine-Westphalia would neither confirm nor deny the report.

Reuters
An ambulance arrives at the scene in the German city.

Bode said investigators were looking at the possibility that other suspects fled the scene, though they had no evidence that this was the case, he added.

Pictures of the scene on social media showed tables and chairs strewn across the scene.

The incident evoked memories of a December 2016 truck attack in Berlin that killed 12 people.

Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters
Herbert Reul addresses reporters after the incident.

Anis Amri, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker with Islamist links, hijacked a truck on December 19, 2016, killed the driver and then ploughed it into a crowded marketplace, killing 11 more people and injuring dozens of others.

“I am shocked by the news from Münster,” said Andrea Nahles, parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats, junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition.

“My thoughts are with the victims and their relatives,” she added. “I hope that our authorities can quickly clarify the background to this incident and wish the local forces much strength for their work.”

Reuters
Police tape at the scene.

Government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer tweeted: “Awful news from Münster. Our thoughts are with the victims and their relatives.”