BERLIN — A man drove a car into pedestrians in a popular Berlin shopping district on Wednesday, killing one person and seriously injuring nine others, rescue services said.
The man drove into people on a street corner at around 10:30 a.m. before getting the car back on the road and then crashing into a shop window around a block further on, police spokesman Thilo Cablitz said.
Six people sustained life-threatening injuries and another three were seriously injured, fire service spokesman Adrian Wentzel. Police said more than a dozen people were injured.
Police wouldn’t immediately confirm German media reports that those killed and injured were part of a school group, but said they “appeared to belong together.”
The driver was apparently detained by passers-by before being arrested swiftly by a police officer who was near the scene, Cablitz said. He said police are trying to determine whether he deliberately drove into pedestrians or whether it was an accident, possibly caused by a medical emergency.
Police later tweeted that the driver was a 29-year-old German-Armenian who lives in Berlin. They didn’t give further details, and it wasn’t immediately clear what if anything he had told them in questioning.
Large numbers of rescue vehicles and first responders were at the scene.
Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey tweeted that she was “deeply shocked by this incident.”
German Interior Ministry spokesman Maximilian Kall said it was “too soon” to say whether it was an accident or an intentional act.
American-British actor John Barrowman, who was in a nearby store with his partner at the time of the crash, described the scene as “carnage.” Large numbers of police and first responders, including a helicopter, were at the scene, he said.
The incident happened at one end of the Kurfuerstendamm shopping boulevard and next to the Breitscheidplatz square, where an extremist carried out a vehicle attack on a Christmas market in 2016, resulting in 13 deaths.
In a 2019 incident in central Berlin, an SUV plowed into a group of pedestrians, killing four people. The driver had suffered an epileptic seizure and veered onto the sidewalk.
Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.