Date: Monday, 29 July 2019
German police arrested a man after he allegedly shoved a boy and his mother onto train tracks at Frankfurt railway station. The child was hit by a train and lost his life. The motive was not immediately clear.
An eight-year-old boy was killed when a man apparently pushed him and his mother from a train platform at Frankfurt's main railway station, German police said on Monday. The boy's mother survived the incident.
The 40-year-old attacker also tried to push another man onto the train tracks as the high-speed train was approaching, but the would-be victim managed to move away, according to preliminary information shared by the police. The authorities have opened a murder probe.
Passers-by capture suspect
The suspect tried to flee the scene and managed to exit the station, but passers-by held him up outside the building. The motive for the attack was not immediately clear, and the police believe the suspect he did not know his victims. Investigators are looking for additional witnesses and information.
Commenting on the incident, the premier of the state of Hessen, Volker Bouffier, said he was "stunned" by the "revolting act."
Germany's Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, cut his vacation short due to the incident and was due to address the public on Tuesday. He is set to meet Germany's top security chiefs and discuss "[s]everal serious crimes during recent time."
According to information cited by Germany's DPA agency, the topics should also include attacks and threats against leftist politicians, the racist attack on an Eritrean man in Wächtersbach, and bombing threats against mosques in Germany.
Seehofer urges caution
On Monday, Seehofer pledged that the attacker would be "called to account with all means of the rule of law." However, the minister also warned against drawing premature conclusions about the Frankfurt attack, after his ministry shared that the attacker was an Eritrean citizen.
"I note that some parts of the public have already formed a judgment of this incident," he said. However, this is only possible once the background of the attack is clarified, added the conservative politician. With German states of Saxony and Brandenburg heading for parliamentary elections on September 1, the apparent attack in Frankfurt is likely to fuel the emotionally-charged discussion about refugee policy spearheaded by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Attack in Voerde
The killing prompted a "massive [police] deployment" at Frankfurt's central train station, a police spokeswoman said. Firefighters were also seen at the scene. Authorities closed six of the platforms for several hours, causing train delays and cancelations.
Deutsche Bahn set up a hotline to provide psychological assistance for people affected by the events. Many people who witnessed the scene required medical care.
The latest tragedy comes only nine days after a 28-year-old man allegedly pushed a 34-year-old mother into the path of an oncoming train in the northwest town of Voerde, killing her.