Five people have been killed and many others seriously injured after a car drove into a pedestrian zone in the German city of Trier.
Among those killed was a nine-month-old baby, Rhineland-Palatinate state governor Malu Dreyer confirmed – condemning the “brutal act”.
Officers said an SUV was driven in a zig-zag fashion towards pedestrians on Tuesday afternoon.
A 51-year-old man is currently in custody being questioned by officers about the crash, according to Trier police spokesperson Karl-Peter Jochem.
The suspect, whose name was not released, had no fixed address and had been living in recent days in the Land Rover that was used in the attack, said prosecutor Peter Fritzen, who was heading the investigation.
Little has been confirmed about the man yet, other than he is a local from the Trier area. He is thought to be have been in the car alone.
“We have arrested one person, one vehicle has been secured,” German police said on Tuesday.
Local media quoted an eyewitness as having seen a dark grey SUV driving at high speed before people were thrown into the air.
Police said the driver appeared to have hit pedestrians indiscriminately as he drove through the city centre shortly before 2pm.
The city centre was cordoned off shortly after while helicopters circled overhead and police warned residents to avoid central Trier. Parents were asked to pick up their children early from school, German newspaper Trierischer Volksfreund said.
The city’s mayor rushed to the scene where he spoke to reporters and conducted a small news conference, according to local reports.
“We have a driver who ran amok in the city. We have two dead that we are certain of and up to 15 injured, some of them with the most severe injuries,” Wolfram Leibe told broadcaster SWR. The death toll was later increased to five.
Mr Leibe told the conference he had “just walked through the city centre and it was horrible”.
“There is a trainer lying on the ground,” he said, “and the girl it belongs to is dead.” Tears stopped the mayor from being able to speak further.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesperson, Steffen Seibert, described the scene was “shocking”.
“Our thoughts are with the relatives of those killed and with the numerous injured, and with everyone currently on duty caring for them,” he said.
No details have yet been made available on the cause of the crash, while police urged members of the public to avoid spreading misinformation about the incident.
“Please do not spread speculation. Reliable information can be obtained from the staff of @PolizeiTrier,” police tweeted.
Mayor Leibe said he did “not want to speculate” but that “all of us are asking ourselves: what drives a person to do something like this?”
“Of course I don’t have an answer to this question,” he told reporters.
Trier is about 200km west of Frankfurt, near the border with Luxembourg. The city of about 110,000 people is known for being the birthplace of Karl Marx.
Additional reporting by agencies