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Graz, Austria: At Least 3 killed After Man Drives into Crowd Before ‘Stabbing Passers-By’

graz-car

Lizzie Dearden reports: A seven-year-old boy is reportedly among the three people killed in Austria by a man who ploughed his car into crowds in the country’s second-largest city and then reportedly started stabbing people.

“A killer used his car as a weapon and deliberately ran people down on a rampage. The perpetrator is in custody.”

A witness told the Wiener Zeitung newspaper that dead bodies were left lying face down in the road after the vehicle sped through streets near the the historical Herrengasse in Graz.

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One of the victims at the scene of the rampage in Graz, Austria

“Apparently the guy was attacking two elderly people with a knife and then attacking police with a knife when he got out.”

The killing only stopped when the driver parked his battered car outside a police station.

More than 30 pedestrians, including three children, were hurt at several locations during the rampage and 10 victims were in hospital with serious injuries. One patient was in a critical condition on Saturday afternoon.

The driver, identified by police as a 26-year-old Austrian man of Bosnian heritage, has been arrested. He works as a professional driver and is married with two children.

Police are not currently investigating terrorism as a motive and the suspect is believed to be suffering from mental illness.

Witnesses recounted how the man drove his vehicle into crowds apparently at random, sending pedestrians and cyclists crashing into the windscreen and rolling over the bonnet.

Blood could be seen on the pavement after people were run over in Graz earlier today

Blood could be seen on the pavement after people were run over in Graz earlier today

Dr Sea Rotmann, who was nearby, told Sky News: “I had a friend who was there and she saw people flying through the air. She saw bodies lying there, it was absolute chaos and mayhem.

“The driver, identified by police as a 26-year-old Austrian man of Bosnian heritage, has been arrested. He works as a professional driver and is married with two children.”

“Apparently the guy was attacking two elderly people with a knife and then attacking police with a knife when he got out.”

Police said the stabbing happened outside a grocery shop, where a man was seriously injured and a woman wounded less severely.

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Paramedics treat a person at the scene where an SUV drove into pedestrians in the city center of Graz, Austria

“More than 30 pedestrians, including three children, were hurt at several locations during the rampage and 10 victims were in hospital with serious injuries. One patient was in a critical condition on Saturday afternoon.”

The incident started at around 12.15pm local time (11.15am BST), sending screaming shoppers running into shops for safety.

A statement from the city council said: “At 12pm there was an appalling incident in the centre of Graz, which has caused major alarm and left the city deeply shaken.

“A killer used his car as a weapon and deliberately ran people down on a rampage. The perpetrator is in custody.”

A spokesperson said the killing spree started in Zweiglgasse, where one person died, and the driver continued through the city and over the Schönaugasse bridge to Herrengasse, ploughing into a cafe seating area in the Hauptplatz (main square).

A witness speaking to the Wiener Zeitung compared the sound of chairs and tables being knocked over by the speeding car to a “gunfight”.

Paramedics at the scene where an SUV drove into pedestrians in the city center of Graz, Austria

Paramedics at the scene where an SUV drove into pedestrians in the city center of Graz, Austria

The mayor of Graz, Siegfried Nagl, was riding his Vespa only metres away from the car as it screamed down Zweiglgasse and said he heard a “loud bang” behind him.

He described seeing the vehicle overtake a bus at “extremely high speed” and hit a man, who died at the scene.

Mr Nagl said: “At first I thought it was an accident and the driver would stop, but he carried on purposefully and had deliberately killed the man.”

The suspect was caught in a nearby Schmiedgasse, where he stopped his car outside a police station.

Josef Klamminger, the director of police, said the driver’s motive was not yet known but he appeared to be “psychotic” following problems at home…(read more)

The Independent

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