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Several dead after van drives into crowd in Münster

April 7, 2018

Police in Münster said at least three, including the driver, were killed and 20 injured when a van ran into a crowd in the city center. The likely perpetrator was a 48-year-old local man.

First responders on the scene after a van rams into a crowd of people in Münster
Image: picture alliance/dpa/F. Gentsch

DW correspondents Hans Brandt and Gerhard Elfers on the events in Münster

Three people have died after a van drove into a crowd in central Münster in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Saturday.

"Some people have died and some have been injured," police wrote on Twitter. Police spokesman Andreas Bode told reporters that 20 people had been injured and six of them were in critical condition.

The interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Herbert Reul, said two bystanders had died and that the driver had killed himself. He added that the driver was a German citizen, and that "at the moment, nothing speaks for there being any Islamist background."

Early on Sunday, at a joint press conference for Münster police and state prosecutors, the authorities confirmed that the assailant "was likely a 48-year-old man from Münster."

The victims were not named, as it customary in Germany, but police said they were 51 and 65 years old, and one was a woman from the town of Lüneburg in Lower Saxony and the other was a man from the town of Borken, not far from Münster.

The incident occurred near the popular Kiepenkerl pub as many people were enjoying a warm sunny weather. The temperature in Münster had increased to 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) from 12 degrees a day earlier.

Münster - Satellite photo of old part of Münster
The incident occured in the old part of the western city of MünsterImage: picture alliance/dpa/Google

'Unbelievable' local help

The local university hospital had to halt a call for public blood donations for the injured after an "overwhelming" number of people arrived at the hospital to voluntarily donate.

"The willingness that the people in Münster showed [was] unbelievable," the hospital said.

Police warned against speculating about the crash. "Please do not spread rumors on Twitter and Facebook" it said on Twitter, adding: "We are on the scene. Please leave the city center and go home."


Police also called for witnesses to the incident to come forward and asked people not to publish images of the scene online.

Merkel 'deeply shaken'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "deeply shaken" by the incident and pledged that "everything possible would be done to clarify what happened and support the victims and their relatives."

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer wrote on Twitter that he had learned with "great sadness" about the crash. He added that federal authorities were working closely with the regional authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia, including Minister President Armin Laschet, who was expected to travel to Münster on Sunday.

French President Emmanuel Macron also expressed his condolences on on Twitter, writing: "All my thoughts are with the victims of the attack in Münster. France shares in the suffering of Germany."

DW correspondents Hans Brandt and Gerhard Elfers on the events in Münster

amp/jm (dpa, AFP, Reuters, AP)

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