A knife-wielding man killed two people and injured seven more on a regional train from Kiel to Hamburg on Wednesday.
Shortly after the crime, the suspect was arrested at a small train station in Brokstedt.
The interior minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Sabine Zutterin-Wak, rushed to the scene as soon as she heard the news. Speaking to reporters in Brokstedt on Wednesday night, she said the suspect was a stateless man from Palestinian territory.
Young men’s reports of age changed slightly in the hours following the attack. However, police said the 33-year-old suspect was taken to hospital during his arrest to treat minor injuries.
Of the injured, three were seriously injured and four suffered minor injuries.
Home Secretary Nancy Fazer wrote on Twitter: “All our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific crime and their families.”
She said she reached out to her local colleague, Sütterlin-Waack, to offer her support.
“The background to this crime is now being investigated with the highest priority,” Fazer said. “My heartfelt thanks to the police and ambulance service.”
Politicians and local religious leaders in other countries and regions have issued similar messages of condolences and distress.
What else do we know so far?
Police said the attack took place as the train was approaching Brokstedt, a small community of about 2,000 people north of Hamburg. The suspect was arrested when the train he arrived at Brokstedt station. Several travelers were calling emergency services from the train.
Police later said three passengers eventually succeeded in restraining the suspected attacker on board, and that police arrived at the scene with him under control.
There were about 70 passengers on the train in all. Police took statements from them at a nearby location.
The station was closed to allow emergency services and forensic teams to work on site. The railroad company reports chaos in the area as a result.
About two hours after the attack, details remained unclear, police said. Neither the suspected motives or reasons for the attacker’s actions, nor the condition of the wounded, were entirely clear.
Based on preliminary investigations, the suspect was not believed to have been on an extremist watch list, police said.
The dpa news agency also reported, this time citing security sources speaking off the record, that the man was showing signs of psychosis.
The region’s Minister of the Interior, Christian Democrat Shutlin Wak, was informed of the crime while in the state parliament. She first consulted state chancellor Daniel Günther. By evening she reached Brokstedt.
msh/nm (AFP, dpa)