Four people died Trier
Police in Trier said four people were killed after a car had driven into them in the pedestrian zone in the city. Authorities said the driver, a 51-year-old man, had been arrested.

Four people died and 15 others were injured in a pedestrian zone in the western German city of Trier, after being struck by a vehicle on Tuesday.

Authorities have said the driver was a 51-year-old German man. He was arrested shortly after the rampage and his car was seized.

Among the victims were a 9-month-old baby, a 73-year-old woman, a 45-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman, all residents of the city of Trier, police vice president Franz-Dieter Ankner said.

Officials said the driver was a local man from the Trier area and was not known to police.

The car he used was a Land Rover sports utility vehicle that did not belong to him, but which was not stolen and presumably was lent to him by another person.

Pedestrians at Fleischstrasse

Pedestrians at Fleischstrasse where the car drove through and struck those in its path
Motive unknown

The suspect was found to have been living in the car in the days leading up to the attack and had a high alcohol content in his blood after a test was performed, following his arrest.

Authorities said the suspect's motive was still unclear, but they are looking into 'possible psychiatric problems,' the city's prosecutor said. They have so far ruled out a political motive.

Police and prosecutors said the man had the intention to cause harm, as he drove through the pedestrian zone "in a zigzag pattern" so as to strike people walking along.

Comment: Which quickly raises the question of why - but so far very little has come out about that:
Speaking to reporters later on Tuesday, a public prosecutor said that the suspect was drunk at the time of the killings. The prosecutor added that the driver had no prior convictions and there was no indication his attack was motivated by Islamist or other religious beliefs.

But authorities still urged the public to avoid spreading rumors about the incident and to trust the information that the department will continue to provide.

'Traumatized' witnesses

Witnesses described a frightening scene, as the car deliberately crashed through the shopping zone, hitting pedestrians along the way.

Trier Mayor Wolfram Leibe told a press conference that it was "a dark day" for the city.

Liebe said a memorial would be placed on Wednesday at the iconic Roman Porta Nigra monument, so that people could express their solidarity with the victims and the city.

"I just walked through the city centre and it was just horrible," the mayor told a news conference, fighting back tears, earlier in the afternoon.

He told broadcaster N-TV that people witnessed the incident were "totally traumatised."

'A terrible day' for Trier

The Premier of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer, expressed shock about the events in Trier, her hometown, in what she called "a terrible day" for the city and the country.

"My deepest sympathy goes to the relatives of the dead. I wish all those injured a speedy recovery," the mayor said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her sympathy and compassion towards the victims and their relatives.

"The news from Trier makes me very sad," she said in a statement posted on Twitter by spokesman Steffen Seibert.

"My sympathy goes out to the relatives of those whose lives were ended so abruptly and violently," Merkel said, adding that she those who were injured and affected by the incident were also in her thoughts.

jcg/msh (Reuters, dpa)