B.A knife attack in downtown Würzburg killed three people on Friday. More people were injured, some seriously, and they fought for their lives late in the evening, the police said. The perpetrator was overwhelmed by a shot and arrested. His life is out of danger. “We have no evidence of other perpetrators,” said a police spokesman. The danger to the population was over, it was said in the early evening.
At first it was only possible to speculate about the possible motives of the arrested person, but there were indications. The Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann, who came to the crime scene in the evening, said that the 24-year-old perpetrator, who came to Germany from Somalia in 2015 and lives in Würzburg, was most recently noticed because of his willingness to use violence; the police also spoke of criminal offenses.
As the interior minister announced, the man had forcibly received psychiatric treatment a few days ago. At first it was not clear whether he was still being treated. An eyewitness report also suggests a possible terrorist background. Accordingly, the perpetrator shouted “Allahu Akbar” – “God is great”. However, his previous crimes are said to have had no relation to Islamist terrorism.
Kitchen knife from the department store
The man had attacked passers-by in downtown Würzburg in the Woolworth department store or in front of it and in a neighboring Sparkasse branch. The long knife he was carrying, apparently a kitchen knife, he had got himself from the department store.
The police said they were alerted around 5:20 p.m. Before she reached the scene of the crime, several passers-by had tried to prevent worse with what they had with them or could grab. According to eyewitness reports, they tried to flee or at least distract the perpetrator, who initially apparently wore a corona mask and was finally walking barefoot, with umbrellas or chairs from the adjacent street cafes.
In fact, they succeeded in pushing the man who, according to Herrmann, was very brutal, into an alley. A police car started chasing him, and after the shot, security forces were able to push him to the ground and arrest him. The interior minister expressed “great respect” to the passers-by who had opposed the perpetrator. It was “an optimal reaction of the citizens with a lot of civil courage”.
The Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder spoke of “appalling and shocking news from Würzburg: We mourn with the victims and their families. We fear and hope with the injured. Thanks to the police for intervening quickly. ”He added:“ A big thank you and respect for the courageous intervention of many citizens who resolutely opposed the alleged attacker. And all rescue workers for their use on site. “
Thigh bullet in the perpetrator
According to the police, the wounded perpetrator – Herrmann spoke of a thigh through the thigh – is being treated in the hospital. He was also questioned there. According to the police, he has already given “brief information”. In addition, his apartment is searched and attempts are made to determine his private environment.
The Barbarossaplatz crime scene is located in the middle of the 130,000-inhabitant city of Würzburg, not far from the main train station. It is usually very busy there on Friday afternoons: While some of them are still visiting the numerous shops, day trippers and the many students in the city visit pubs and cafes nearby or are on their way to the banks of the Main, where many people meet at this time of the year, for example to enjoy the view of the Würzburg fortress.
Almost five years ago, on July 18, 2016, this idyll was badly shaken: four people were seriously injured in an attack on a train near Würzburg. A 17-year-old Afghan refugee attacked travelers with an ax and a knife on a regional train on the way to Würzburg. Then he fled on foot, attacked a stroller and was finally shot by police.