Investigators seek motive after car rammed into German carnival parade

Reuters

Posted at Feb 25 2020 05:31 PM | Updated as of Feb 25 2020 05:33 PM

Police forensic officers work at the scene after a car ploughed into a carnival parade injuring several people in Volkmarsen, Germany, February 24, 2020. Thilo Schmuelgen, Reuters

VOLKMARSEN, Germany - Investigators were hoping on Tuesday to question a 29-year-old man suspected of ploughing a silver Mercedes Benz into a carnival parade in the western German town of Volksmarsen, injuring more than 50 people, including 18 children.

The incident on Monday shook Germans still struggling to take in last week's racist gun attack in the town of Hanau which left 11 people dead.

"What is happening in our country?" asked top-selling Bild newspaper on its front page.

Thirty five people were still in hospital on Tuesday, while another 17 had left after treatment, police said on Twitter. Eighteen of the injured were children. The motive of the driver was still unclear and investigations were ongoing, they said.

Bild and other media reported that the German man, arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide, was not in a fit state to be questioned on Monday. He was suffering from a head injury, some media reports said.

"There are so far no indications of politically-motivated criminality," Bild cited an investigator as saying.

"But we think that the perpetrator acted with intent, and that psychological problems may have played a role," the investigator added.

Several German media outlets, including public broadcaster ZDF, reported that the man was believed to have been under the influence of alcohol or possibly drugs but investigators have so far declined to confirm this.

Spokespeople for the police and state prosecutors also declined to comment on media reports that a second person had been arrested in connection with the incident. Germany's Deutschlandfunk radio reported the second person had filmed the incident, but it was unclear how they were involved.

Rose Monday is the height of the carnival season in Catholic areas of Germany, especially in the Rhineland where tens of thousands of people dress up, drink alcohol and line the streets to watch parades and satirical floats.