A German police spokesman said Saturday that 3 people are dead and 20 have been injured - some seriously - after a delivery van rammed into a crowd of people in the center of Munster. Police say the driver of the van shot himself to death inside the van after the crash, bringing the total death toll to four.
The incident unfolded near the Kiepenkerl statue in Munster's old town, where the van drove into the open terrace of the Kiepenkerl bar, a restaurant that is popular with tourists, around 3:30 pm local time.
AFP reported that six of the injured are in critical condition. While the official death toll remained at four, unverified reports put the number dead at 5 and the number injured at around 50.
Sky News reported that a small truck drove into a group of people who were seated at an outdoor restaurant near the statue. The debris from what appear to be wooden chairs can be seen scattered across the scene.
Police told the Associated Press that a suspicious package was found in the vehicle - though it's unclear whether it's dangerous. A local university has reportedly opened its blood bank to help treat the victims.
Meanwhile, police say they are checking witness reports that other perpetrators may have fled from a van. Police have also confirmed that there is no terrorist motive behind the attack, and that the "disturbed" driver was a German man with a long history of psychological issues.
The suspect’s apartment was being searched for possible explosives, local media reported, according to the AP.
Police are treating the incident as an attack, not an accident. But a spokesman warned it's far too early to begin speculating about a motive.
#Kiepenkerl Es gibt Tote und Verletzte. Bitte den Bereich meiden. Mehr Infomationen gibt es hier. Wir sind vor Ort— Polizei NRW MS (@Polizei_nrw_ms) April 7, 2018
They've asked people to avoid the area until the scene is cleared. They cleared off a large area around the scene because they feared the mysterious item could be a bomb.
A spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered her condolences to the families.
Mayor Markus Lewe told the press that "all of Muenster is mourning this horrible incident. Our sympathy is with the relatives of those who were killed. We wish the injured a quick recovery."
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the country's top security official, said federal authorities are working with officials in North Rhine-Westphalia state.
Police also asked people to refrain from spreading misinformation on twitter.
While police haven't released any information about the attacker or their motive, automobile attacks are a signature method used by ISIS and other terror groups when carrying out terror attacks in Europe and the US.
Video from scene in Münster, Germany following car ramming incident, leaving at least 4 people dead and 20 others injured. pic.twitter.com/lP7zg1zQrC— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) April 7, 2018
In an interesting coincidence, Saturday's crash occurred on the one-year anniversary of a similar attack in Stockholm where a stolen beer struck drove into a group of pedestrians, killing five. On Halloween, a man claiming allegiance with ISIS mowed down pedestrians in Lower Manhattan not far from the World Trade Center. The last car attack in Germany occurred when a Tunisian man who'd been rejected for asylum rammed his car into a Berlin Christmas market.