A man with a knife killed two people and wounded seven more on a regional train running from Kiel to Hamburg on Wednesday.
A suspect was arrested at a small train station in the town of Brokstedt soon after the crime.
The state of Schleswig-Holstein’s interior minister, Sabine Sütterlin-Waack, rushed to the scene soon after being informed of the news. Speaking to reporters in Brokstedt on Wednesday evening, she said that the suspect was a stateless man from the Palestinian territories.
Reports on the young man’s age varied slightly in the hours following the attack. But police said a 33-year-old suspect had been taken to hospital while under arrest to treat minor injuries.
Three of those wounded were seriously injured, four suffered minor injuries.
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wrote on Twitter: “All our thoughts are with the victims of this awful crime and their families.”
She said she had reached out to her regional colleague Sütterlin-Waack to offer support.
“The background to this crime is now being investigated with high priority,” Faeser said. “I offer heartfelt thanks to police and emergency services.”
Other national and regional politicians and local religious leaders also issued similar messages of condolence or distress.
What else do we know so far?
Police said the attack took place as the train was approaching Brokstedt, a small community of around 2,000 people north of Hamburg. A suspect was arrested when the train reached Brokstedt station. Multiple travelers had called the emergency services from the train.
Police later said that three passengers had eventually managed to restrain the suspected attacker on board, and that police arrived at the scene with him under their control.
Roughly 70 passengers were aboard the train in total. Police took statements from them at a site nearby.
The station was closed to allow emergency services and forensic teams to work on site. Rail providers reported disruptions in the area as a result.
According to police, further details remained elusive around two hours after the attack. Neither suspected motives or reasons for the attacker’s actions, nor the condition of those injured was entirely clear.
Police said the suspect was not thought to have been on any extremist watch lists, based on preliminary checks.
The dpa news agency also reported, but this time citing security sources speaking off the record, that the man was exhibiting signs of a psychiatric illness.
The region’s interior minister, Süttlerin-Waack of the Christian Democrats, was informed of the crime while in the state parliament. She first consulted with state premier Daniel Günther. By early evening, she had arrived in Brokstedt.
msh/nm (AFP, dpa)