A man plowed his car into a crowd on New Year’s Eve in Germany, gravely injuring at least four pedestrians in what German police called “targeted attack”.
“At least 4 people, including Syrian and Afghan nationals, were severely injured,” the police statement reads. It’s not yet clear if the victims were migrants.
Police say the suspect made “xenophobic” statements during his arrest.
The 50-year-old suspect first started going after pedestrians in his silver Mercedes in the city of Bottrop in west-central Germany shortly after midnight, law enforcement announced on Tuesday. He first tried to drive into a pedestrian who managed to escape, before continuing his hunt and aiming at a crowd of people on a local square.
The suspect then headed towards the city of Essen, 9km to the south of Bottrop, where he was finally apprehended by police. In Essen, the attacker also tried to plow his vehicle into pedestrians waiting at a bus stop.
During his arrest, he made some “xenophobic remarks,” police noted, adding that investigators believe the attack may have been “targeted.” Another version being considered is that he may be mentally ill.