The driver, who killed five people in a German rampage on Tuesday, was under the influence of alcohol and appeared to have psychiatric problems, the prosecutors said last night.
The 51-year-old German, referred to in media reports as Bernd Walter W, is said to have lived in the Range Rover, which he ran into pedestrians on a shopping street in Trier and killed a little girl and four others.
On what the mayor of the city described as "Trier's darkest day since World War II", witnesses reported that people were thrown from the ground and the stroller was blown through the air during the four-minute rampage.
Victims included the nine-month-old baby, a 45-year-old man and two women, ages 25 and 73, while at least 15 others were injured, including the mother of the dead girl.
The suspect, who is due to appear before a judge today, is scheduled to speak in police interviews – with the authorities assessing whether he is mentally stable enough to be held criminally accountable.
In a Facebook post that was reportedly broadcast shortly before the rampage, he wrote, "My tombstone should read – save your tears, where were you when I was alive?"
The man had spent the last few nights in the vehicle and did not seem to have a permanent address, said the deputy chief of police in Trier, Franz-Dieter Ankner. He had borrowed the vehicle, which was registered in someone else's name but apparently had no previous convictions.
After his name became known on Tuesday, reports described him as an unemployed electrician who neighbors remembered as a "stranger" known to drink at a local kebab shop and who agreed before she died Had lived with his mother for years.
The Range Rover, which was involved on the verge of the rampage in Trier on Tuesday, is being pulled away from where it stopped and its driver was arrested after plowing into pedestrians on a shopping street, killing five people and more than a dozen others had hurt
After yesterday's rampage in Trier by a driver who, according to the police, was under the influence of alcohol and may have psychiatric problems, the evidence lies on a cordoned off road
Rescue workers inspect the damage in Trier after the SUV driver turned into a pedestrian zone and drove people down
A firefighter stands over a single shoe in the pedestrian zone in Trier, which a Range Rover driver aimed at on Tuesday
A woman left a candle yesterday evening as a tribute to the victims after what was known as Trier's darkest day since the war
A destroyed baby carriage was seen in the pedestrian zone in Trier on Tuesday after witnesses described how a buggy was thrown into the air and authorities confirmed that a young girl had died in the attack
The driver is nailed to the ground next to the Range Rover, which is believed to have run over pedestrians in Trier. At least four people were killed in a deliberate attack by the police
Police said the driver plowed the streets for more than half a mile, leaving a trail of destruction in a pedestrian street that would normally be home to a popular Christmas market.
He was detained and arrested near the old Roman city gate four minutes after the rampage began. He was in custody last night when police tried to investigate his motive.
Prosecutor Peter Fritzen said the man drank a significant amount of alcohol, adding that prosecutors were considering moving him to mental health care.
An unnamed man who said he was a former neighbor of the suspect told NTV that the driver had a history of mental health problems, as well as financial concerns and problems with his father.
He had once belonged to a rifle club, but had not been seen there for years and it was not assumed that he owned a gun, the head of the club told t-online.
Mayor Wolfram Leibe said: "It looks like we're talking about a suspect with mental health problems, but we shouldn't be making an early judgment."
After the mayor's voice broke with emotion, he revealed that a young girl was among the dead, the cathedral bells rang on Tuesday evening and a memorial service was held for the victims.
A mutilated stroller stood in the wreckage last night after officers cordoned off the area and gathered evidence while the Range Rover was pulled away from the street where police had brought it under control hours earlier.
While the authorities did not describe it as an act of terrorism and security forces said they had no evidence of a "political background" for the attack, the incident has sparked memories of the 2016 Christmas market rampage in Berlin, in which 12 people were killed.
The car is believed to have driven about half a mile through a pedestrian street near Porta Nigra, an ancient Roman gate
Debris was scattered near an ambulance while rescue workers responded to the fatal incident in Trier
Rescue workers and spectators stand near the scene in a pedestrian zone that would be full of people in a normal December at the city's popular Christmas market
Armed police in the cordoned off pedestrian zone as the authorities investigated the fatal rampage in Trier
Germany has seen both Islamist and far-right attacks in recent years, and just yesterday more than 180 officers were involved in a raid on a banned neo-Nazi group known for its racist and anti-Semitic ideology.
However, at a press conference Tuesday evening, officials said they had "no evidence that there is any sort of terrorist, political or religious motive that could have played a role".
Police said that after the driver was arrested, there was no further threat to Trier residents, suggesting that he acted alone. He was arrested four minutes after the first 911 call, the authorities said.
Police spokesman Karl-Peter Jochem said the driver drove people down "indiscriminately" after turning into the pedestrian zone.
The number of dead and injured was still clear on Tuesday evening, but the death toll had already risen from two to five.
In addition to the injured, there were many other "traumatized" pedestrians who were in shock after seeing what happened, the mayor said.
“We often see pictures like this on TV and think that this cannot happen here. Now it has happened in Trier, ”the mayor told reporters near the Porta Nigra.
After the deliberate attack in Trier on Tuesday, the police are working in forensic equipment in the city center after dark
Police watch rescuers push an injured person into an ambulance at the spot where a car hit pedestrians
The silver Range Rover is said to have been used in the deliberate attack on pedestrians in Trier on Tuesday
The Range Rover is being lifted onto a truck to be taken away by police officers after it got dark in Trier on Tuesday evening
Emergency services at the scene of the accident in a closed pedestrian zone
The spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel described the attack as "shocking" and said that the thoughts of the government were with the injured and the families of the victims.
Regional premier Malu Dreyer, who arrived at the scene on Tuesday evening, said she was deeply shaken by the events in the historic city she referred to as her hometown.
After the driver was arrested, officers warned people to avoid the scene, saying they were on site alongside rescue workers while helicopters were also hovering over the city.
Shoppers thronged the shops decorated with Christmas decorations, while sirens could be heard in the distance. Emergency services from nearby Luxembourg are also said to be on site.
While one of the most popular Christmas markets in Germany usually takes place in Trier, the event was canceled this year due to the pandemic.
Although bars and restaurants have closed under a so-called "lockdown light" to fight infections, shops and schools have remained open in contrast to the spring.
The incident brought back memories of the 2016 rampage at a Berlin Christmas market in which 12 people died. The driver on this occasion, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker, was a supporter of the Islamic State jihadist group.
In August 2019, six people were injured in a series of motorway accidents in Berlin, which the public prosecutor described as a suspected Islamist attack.
After the incident in Trier on Tuesday, a square was blocked by the police and fire engines
A lot of rescue workers in the pedestrian area that would be full of Christmas shoppers in a normal December
An armed police officer spoke to a firefighter near the attack site on Tuesday, which lasted about four minutes
People look at rubble in front of a shop front in the pedestrian zone in Trier, where at least two people were killed on Tuesday
The local emergency services, according to the police, were a deliberate attack on Tuesday afternoon
One square is blocked by the police in Trier, where the authorities secure evidence and deal with injured and traumatized people