Merkel Vows Full Probe After Van Crashed in Crowd in Muenster

(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised a full investigation after a man killed two people by driving a van into a street cafe in the western city of Muenster, then fatally shot himself on the scene.

About 20 people were injured in the incident on Saturday afternoon, which recalled recent terrorist attacks using vehicles, including one on a Christmas market in Berlin in 2016 that killed 12 people.

The driver was a German national and there are "no indications" he had extremist Islamic ties, Herbert Reul, the interior minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, told reporters in Muenster. Police had initially mentioned the suspect killed three people and later clarified the total number included the driver.

Merkel Vows Full Probe After Van Crashed in Crowd in Muenster

“I’m deeply shocked by the awful events in Muenster,” Merkel said in a statement. “Everything conceivable will now be done to clear up what’s behind this act and to support the victims and their families.”

The crash happened at 3:27 p.m. in Muenster’s old town area, city police spokesman Andreas Bode told reporters. Television networks ran a photo said to have been taken shortly after the crash that showed overturned restaurant tables in the city on one of the first sunny weekend afternoons this spring.

Police are investigating if other attackers may have fled from the vehicle, though there’s no immediate evidence that there were accomplices, Bode said. A "suspicious item" was found in the van, which is currently being investigated.

In the 2016 incident in Berlin, a Tunisian drove a semi-truck into a crowd, killing 12. Terrorists recently also used trucks in London and France to carry out attacks.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.