German car attack suspect ordered kept in detention

Larry Hoffman
January 3, 2019

A 50-year-old man who drove his vehicle into crowds celebrating New Year in a suspected racist attack has been charged with attempted murder.

Police said the man then headed towards the nearby town of Essen in North Rhine-Westphalia, in the western part of Germany, where he was arrested.

Police block a road in Bottrop, Germany, Jan. 1, 2019 after a man plowed his auto into a crowd of people, injuring at least four, in what appears to have been an intentional attack directed at foreigners, police say.

"A German man deliberately drove into crowds of people ... that were largely made up of foreigners". The people hit included Syrians and Afghans, some of whom suffered serious injuries.

The 50-year-old driver first attempted to hit a group of people in Bottrop, but failed. "The man had the clear intention to kill foreigners", Herbert Reul, the top security official in North Rhine-Westphalia state, was quoted as saying by the German news agency dpa.

Eight people, including two children, were wounded in an assault that police described as a "targeted attack motivated by the driver's hostility to foreigners".

"The investigating authorities are now working on the basis this was a deliberate attack, which may been motivated by xenophobia", police and prosecutors said in a joint statement. Police said there are indications the suspect suffered from mental illness.

The attacks began shortly after midnight while people were celebrating New Year's out on the streets.

The driver first tried to run over a person, but they managed to get out of the way. One remains in the hospital, according to police.

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