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German media reports the vehicle drove into the crowd on Rankestraße in Berlin-Charlottenburg before crashing into the window of a store near the site of a devastating 2016 terrorist attack. Initial police reports said 30 people had been injured but the total was later revised to 14. At least 130 emergency service personnel have been at the scene. Thilo Cablitz, a Berlin police spokesman, told reporters: “Part of the reconstruction of the event, of course, is to look at the extent to which this was an intentional act or a traffic accident that may have occurred because of an exceptional medical situation.” The driver, a German man of Armenian origin who lives in Berlin, reportedly left a note in the car. He has been arrested.
According to a fire brigade spokesperson, five people are in critical condition and three others were seriously injured. The driver is said to be among the injured.
German daily Der Tagesspiegel reported the dead woman is said to be a teacher who was with a group of pupils.
An eyewitness told Bild: “Suddenly there were blue lights everywhere. The man was surrounded by a bunch of police officers. He came out of a side street of the Douglas store with the officers holding him and was first given medical attention. Then they took him away. He seemed motionless. He was taken into custody without any trouble.”
Armed police officers have also been at the scene.
Berlin’s fire brigade sent 60 emergency personnel, according to reports.
A police spokesman said: “We do not yet know whether it was an intentional act or a traffic accident. We have detained the driver of the vehicle and are clarifying the facts.”
Rankestraße is near the main shopping district of Breitscheidplatz which was the scene of Berlin’s 2016 Christmas market attack in which 11 people were killed. It is one of the largest High Streets in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district.
Der Tagesspiegel reported that a man was driving a Renault Clio car which crashed through the shop window of a branch of Douglas before coming to a stop.
Actor John Barrowman was in the area at the time of the incident.
He tweeted: “We’ve seen a car that came down the road and ended up in a storefront covering three city blocks. It’s pretty horrific.”
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Mr Barrowman, in a video posted on Twitter, described hearing a bang as he was in a nearby shop.
He said: “It’s pretty bad. There’s dead bodies in the middle of the road. There are a lot of people walking with limps and injuries. The police presence is unbelievable.
“I heard the bang and the crash. We came out and saw the carnage.”
The incident is reported to have happened at 10.30am local time on Wednesday, June 8.
German media outlet Morgenpost reports that there are several hundred metres between where the incident began on Rankestraße and the end of the car’s journey in the shop window in Marburger Straße.
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Mr Barrowman, in a further update on Twitter, said hundreds of emergency services personnel were at the scene as a police cordon stretched further and further across the neighbourhood.
He said: “This is bad. This is serious.”
An eyewitness whose vehicle was clipped by the car told the Berliner Morgenpost that the car was travelling at a speed of about 93mph (150kmh) on Tauentzienstraße.
Thilo Cablitz, a spokesman for the Berlin police, said in comments translated into English: “At the moment we cannot say anything about the motivation or whether it was a traffic accident.
“This means we are now putting all the pieces of the mosaic together until we have a reliable overall picture and can then actually say whether it was a deliberate act or a traffic accident.
“The driver of the vehicle involved in the accident, we were able to detain him on the spot and, of course, he is currently being questioned.”
Der Tagesspiegel reported that the driver was a 60-year-old man though police later confirmed he is 29 and a German-Armenian with dual citizenship.
According to Bild, a letter of confession was found in the vehicle.
The incident happened next to the war-ravaged Gedaechtniskirche church – one of Berlin’s best-known landmarks.
Pictures show a number of stretchers unloaded on surrounding pavements with police officers armed with submachine guns.
Images show rescue workers moving apparently conscious people on stretchers towards an ambulance, including one woman sitting up and another covering her face with her hand.
A rescue helicopter has also landed on the Kudamm.
Berlin’s Senator of the Interior, Iris Spranger, is being briefed about what happened and a press conference has been announced for this afternoon.
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