It is Berlin’s most important shopping street, the world-famous KaDeWe is not far away. On Wednesday morning, a car drives into a crowd and a teacher dies. Many questions are still open.

Millions of people know the place in Berlin where life suddenly changes for some on Wednesday – this is especially true for a group of schoolchildren from Hesse.

A large area between the Memorial Church and the luxury department store KaDeWe is cordoned off with red and white warning tape. Emergency calls were received around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. A car drove into a crowd. The silver-colored small car is 200 meters away in a shop window. The glass shatters, the shards are scattered on the floor. Dozens of police cars and ambulances line the street. A helicopter circles in the air.

A little further away a covered body can be seen on the street. They are images that make it clear what it means when someone’s life is ripped out. Many of the car driver’s victims belong to a 10th school class from Bad Arolsen in northern Hesse. The woman killed was a teacher. Another teacher was seriously injured, as were a number of students, some critically.

Chancellor Scholz “deeply affected”

“The cruel shooting on Tauentzienstraße affects me deeply,” wrote Chancellor Olfa Scholz (SPD) on Twitter in the evening. “The journey of a Hessian school class to Berlin ends in a nightmare.” The Hessian state government is deeply dismayed. «This shocking news from Berlin leaves me stunned and deeply affected. My thoughts are with the victims, who were full of joy on a class trip in the capital, »said Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU). Emergency care teams were sent to Bad Arolsen to help relatives, classmates and teachers.

According to police spokesman Thilo Cablitz, the driver was arrested by passers-by after his crime. The police then arrested the 29-year-old.

Driver should be mentally conspicuous

As the day progressed, there was increasing evidence that it was not an accident. In the car, which belongs to the driver’s sister, were documents and posters with statements about Turkey, such as those held up at demonstrations. Police President Barbara Slowik spoke of a “suspect” who was taken to a hospital. At the moment there is no evidence of a political motivation.

The driver, a German-Armenian, is said to have mental problems, police said. In this context, a rampage on the A100 city motorway in August 2020 was mentioned when another driver deliberately rammed three motorcyclists. He was committed to psychiatry by the court.

A 42-year-old man is standing opposite the destroyed shop window on Wednesday. He has a day off, he wanted to drive to an appointment. He was standing at a red light and wanted to turn right. Suddenly a car – “it was very, very fast, definitely 150” – came over the sidewalk and landed in the window of a perfumery.

2016: Assassin controls truck in Christmas market

The place where the police and fire brigade help together on Wednesday is a special one in Berlin’s history. In 2016, just a few meters away, on Breitscheidplatz near the Memorial Church, an Islamist assassin drove a truck into a Christmas market. Now journalists are standing exactly where the attack happened and filming on the opposite side.

“There is still a gaping wound in the heart of this city,” said police spokesman Cablitz. That’s why there are also police officers with submachine guns on site.

Some people also have images of 2019 in their heads. At that time, a man had left Invalidenstrasse in his heavy car. Four people died. The man had been driving a month before the accident despite suffering from epilepsy and undergoing brain surgery.

On Wednesday, the police asked people on Twitter not to post pictures of the scene. Instead, she asks for hints. Eyewitnesses should be psychologically cared for, as a fire department spokesman says. The offer also applies to emergency services, some of whom may have been deployed in 2016. “It’s in the head.”

Tweet von Sawsan Chebli

Former Berlin State Secretary Sawsan Chebli (SPD) tweeted: “I hear helicopters. sirens. My body is shaking. What a horror!” Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) explains shortly after the fact: “It’s a situation where you think: For God’s sake, not again! We don’t yet know whether that was a coincidence, the location, whether it was a deliberately chosen location.”