A woman is dead, many people injured: After the fatal incident in Berlin, the investigators assume that the driver is mentally ill. But what’s next?

Shock and sadness still have an effect after the death trip at the Berlin Memorial Church. Meanwhile, the investigators’ work continues. For them it is now a matter of clarifying the exact circumstances and background of the crime. For this purpose, experts are to be commissioned – both for the psychiatric expertise and for the course of events – and witnesses are to be heard.

No doubt about mental illness

One thing is certain for the officials: a mental illness in the driver caused the 29-year-old to crash into groups of people on the sidewalks of Ku’damm and Tauentzienstrasse on Wednesday. The man is in a psychiatric facility. Prosecutors have charged him with one count of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.

A school class from Bad Arolsen in northern Hesse, whose trip to the capital came to an abrupt end, was particularly affected. A teacher at the school died in the incident and many students were injured.

On Wednesday evening, the Hessian Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU) and Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) laid flowers for the victims. “I feel very sad when I see this place and my heart has been really heavy since I heard the news,” said Rhein. A person plunged “an entire school, an entire town and above all an entire family” into a tragedy.

Archbishop calls for minute’s silence

Investigations must now show whether there may be more to the crime than the driver’s mental illness, said Giffey. “For us it was important that we really learned from the lessons of the amoktat and this attack from 2016 here in this very place.” A lot has been organized differently since then, and the plan was implemented “in an exemplary manner” on Wednesday.

The Catholic Archbishop of Berlin, Heiner Koch, called on all schools to observe a minute’s silence on Friday (10:30 a.m.). “I was particularly shocked and shocked that a school class was the victim of the rampage,” said Koch, according to a statement on Thursday.

There are indications that the arrested man is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, said the spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office, Sebastian Büchner. Drugs were found during a search of the 29-year-old’s apartment. The accused had released his doctors from the duty of confidentiality.

Suspect probably already in 2020 in a psychiatric clinic

According to RBB information, the suspect is said to have been transferred to a psychiatric clinic after an incident in 2020, where a referral should be checked.

There is still no evidence of a terrorist background to the current act – according to the public prosecutor’s office, an accident can also currently be ruled out.

The federal and state government classified the incident as an amoktat. The public prosecutor’s office and the police, on the other hand, deliberately did not use the term “amoktat” at first. The case also brings back memories of a rampage on the Berlin A100 city motorway in August 2020, when a driver deliberately rammed three motorcyclists. He was committed to psychiatry by the court.

The 29-year-old suspect of Armenian origin was naturalized in 2015, explained Berlin’s Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) on Thursday. He was often noticed by the police, there had been investigations into bodily harm, trespassing and insults.

The crime scene is not far from the Memorial Church on Breitscheidplatz in Berlin-Charlottenburg. In December 2016, an Islamist assassin drove into a Christmas market there.