A man who drove a car into a crowd at a carnival parade in western Germany “seemed satisfied” and had an “empty and dead expression”, according to an witness.
Eighteen children were among 52 injured in the collision on Monday in Volkmarsen, near Kassel, a town of about 7,000 about 175 miles (281km) southwest of Berlin.
Detectives are waiting to question the suspect, a 29-year-old local German man, who was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder and is now being treated for head injuries.
Emergency worker Lea-Sophie Schloemer jumped out of the way as the silver Mercedes-Benz crashed into the crowd, and as it came to a stop she opened the driver’s door and attempted to take the key out of the ignition.
Image: The scene of the crash on Monday
“Then he grabbed my hair and started to choke me and tried to start the car again, which he didn’t manage to do,” Ms Schloemer told Welt television.
Three men punched the driver to restrain him, before police officers arrived.
Ms Schloemer said: “He didn’t say a word. He looked at you empty and dead and seemed so satisfied. It was really unnerving how satisfied he seemed.”
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No one died in the incident, a police spokesman said on Tuesday, but he warned some of the injured could be in a critical condition.
Image: Police believe the man deliberately drove into the crowd
All of the youngsters, including the youngest, aged three, are being treated in hospital, police said, along with 17 of the adults, while a further 17 adults have been released after treatment.
The driver had not been in a fit state to be questioned overnight, prosecutors said, but was not drunk at the time of the incident and will be tested for drugs on Tuesday.
Police believe the man deliberately drove into the carnival crowd but a spokesman for prosecutors said there was no political motive for the attack.
Witnesses told local media the driver appeared to have deliberately targeted children and had driven into the crowd “at full throttle”.
Image: Eighteen children were among 52 injured in the collision
Tensions in Germany are already heightened following last week’s racist gun attack on two bars in the town of Hanau which left 11 people dead.
“What is happening in our country?” asked Bild, the country’s top-selling newspaper, on its front page.
Officers have said they are keeping an open mind and investigating all possible angles and have arrested a second man for taking a video.
Security will be tightened at carnivals, police said, and organisers were being asked to review safety procedures.
Rose Monday, which fell on 24 February, is the height of the carnival season in Catholic areas of Germany, especially in the Rhineland.
Tens of thousands of people dress up, drink alcohol and line the streets to watch decorated floats that often mock public figures.
Source : Sky News