The driver of a small car who drove into a school class in downtown Berlin on Wednesday and killed a teacher is to be admitted to a psychiatric ward. That’s what the prosecutor’s office is asking for.

After the death drive in Berlin, the public prosecutor applied for the driver to be placed in a psychiatric institution. This was announced by the spokesman for the public prosecutor, Sebastian Büchner, on Thursday. The so-called accommodation order is in progress. The decision of an investigating judge is expected on the same day. There are indications that the arrested 29-year-old suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. There is no evidence of a terrorist background. “But against this background, an accident can also be ruled out,” said Büchner.

The Berlin public prosecutor’s office assumes that the death drive on Ku’damm in the capital was a deliberate act. The perpetrator drove in two groups of people. The man “deliberately drove a vehicle” into a first group of people on the corner of Ku’damm and Rankestrasse and then into a group of students and teachers on Tauentzienstrasse. The public prosecutor’s office accuses him of one murder and 31 counts of attempted murder and also dangerous interference with traffic. The characteristics of the murder are insidious and commissioned with means that are dangerous to the public.

The emergency services continue to investigate intensively. “The investigations are being conducted by the homicide commission and are in full swing. The measures on site have been completed,” said Berlin’s Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) on Thursday in the House of Representatives, Berlin’s state parliament. The death driver is in police custody and will be brought before a judge on Thursday, Spranger said. The judge can issue an arrest warrant so that the man is remanded in custody.

The alleged amok driver apparently had mental problems

On Wednesday morning, the driver raced past the sidewalks of Ku’damm and Tauentzienstraße at the Memorial Church and hit a group of people. A teacher was killed and several students were injured, some of them critically.

Police searched the driver’s home later that evening. Spranger said: “Currently, both the mobile phone and the computer are being studied very intensively.” Drugs were also found when the apartment was searched. The accused had released his doctors from the duty of confidentiality.

According to the latest information, the 29-year-old has had mental problems in the past, Spranger explained. “The exact circumstances have yet to be clarified as part of the ongoing investigation.” The man of Armenian origin was naturalized in 2015. He was often noticed by the police, there had been investigations into bodily harm, trespassing and insults.

No claim letter found

Nothing is known about political and extremist acts. “Even in connection with anti-constitutional efforts, the suspect has not yet attracted attention.” No confession letter was found in the car, Spranger said. “Posters were found in the car. Whether and to what extent these are related to the crime is also the subject of the investigation.” Spranger emphasized: “That’s why, based on the current status, I rate yesterday’s events as a rampage by a mentally handicapped person.”

Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) has now spoken of a mentally disturbed person driving amok. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had said on Twitter on Wednesday evening: “The cruel amok attack on Tauentzienstrasse affects me deeply.” The police initially deliberately did not use the term “amoktat”. “There are tendencies in this direction, but we are not yet committed to it,” it said on Thursday.

On the day after the incident, the forensics team of the criminal police was again working at the scene of the crime on Ku’damm and Tauentzienstraße. The seized car should also be “intensively searched” again. The police asked witnesses to get in touch and also to send possible videos and photos of the crime to a police website.

One dead, 29 injured, six of them critically

The police still saw no political extremist background to the crime. According to the police, the posters found with statements about Turkey “are not related to the crime”. It was also unclear who they belonged to. The owner of the car is the driver’s sister.

There was new information on the number of injuries: In addition to the killed teacher from Hesse, 29 people were injured according to the current status, six of them critically and three seriously. Among the injured were many students from a 10th class from Hesse, with whom the teacher had been traveling.

At noon, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) got an impression of the situation on Ku’damm. She visited the area at Breitscheidplatz with police chief Barbara Slowik and spoke to police officers.

Discussions about safety in inner cities

Hesse’s Prime Minister Boris Rhein and Minister of Education Alexander Lorz (both CDU) meanwhile visited the school of the affected graduating class in Bad Arolsen in northern Hesse. “It’s a very difficult day for us and we have very heavy hearts,” said Rhein.

The deadly incident also sparked a new debate about safety measures in inner cities. Regarding possible protective measures using bollards on the streets, Giffey said on the RBB Inforadio that the truth also includes “that we can’t block the whole city and we can’t block the whole Ku’damm either”. However, the authorities are investigating what is additionally possible for security. Oliver Malchow, federal chairman of the police union (GdP), told the editorial network Germany (RND) that there could not be 100% protection against such amok drives in which cars are used as weapons.