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Greek Family Among 5 Killed in Pedestrian Zone Attack in Germany

Αssociated Press

Mourners lay down candles and flowers at the Porta Nigra in Trier the morning after the amok drive with five dead people in Trier, Germany, Wednesday, Dec.2, 2020. (Harald Tittel/dpa via AP)

BERLIN — A Greek family from Germany was among the victims that were killed and injured when a car ploughed through a pedestrian street in German city of Trier, in the Rhineland-Palatinate region.

A 45-year-old dentist and his nine-week-old baby girl are dead, while his wife and their other child, aged 17 months, are in hospital. The others killed were three women, aged 25, 52 and 73.

The Greek community has supported the family from the first moment, as has the priest of the parish from Luxembourg, Spyridon Tsakonas, who, in a statement to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), spoke about an "extremely difficult situation".

Trier residents placed flowers and lit candles Wednesday at the base of the southwestern German city's landmark Roman gate in tribute to the five people killed and more than a dozen others injured when a man drove an SUV at high speed through the central pedestrian zone.

Αssociated Press

Police officers guard the scene of an incident in Trier, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

The man, a 51-year-old from Trier whose name hasn't been released, has made a statement to authorities and was to be taken before a judge later in the day to determine whether to keep him in police custody or put him into psychiatric care.

“The victims and their families need answers,” city mayor Wolfram Leibe told reporters near the makeshift memorial that was growing at the Roman gate known as the Porta Nigra, near the scene of the attack.

Prosecutors investigating the man for murder, attempted murder and other charges said after the Tuesday afternoon attack that they had no immediate indication of what prompted the man to act, but that there were no signs of a terror, political or religious motive.

He had been drinking heavily before the attack, authorities said.

Αssociated Press

Evidence lies at the scene of an incident in Trier, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Police received the first call about the attack at 1:47 p.m. and were able to apprehend the suspect four minutes later after he stopped the car and they blocked him in.

Zig-zagging through the pedestrian zone, police said he traveled about 800 meters (875 yards) in total, “leaving behind him a trail of dead, injured and rubble.”

Greek FM sends condolences over tragic incident

The Greek foreign ministry expressed its sorrow over the tragic incident in an announcement.

"The General Consulate in Frankfurt is in constant contact with the German authorities to offer any assistance. We convey our deep condolences to the victims' family," it said.

"I express my sorrow for the loss of five human lives, among them two Greek citizens, in the tragic incident in Trier, Germany and my deep condolences to their families. Our thoughts are with the injured and we wish them fast recovery" said Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in a post.

German ambassador expresses condolences

German Ambassador to Greece Ernst Reichel expressed his condolences on Wednesday over the death of a young Greek professional and his nine-week-old daughter.

"It is doubly saddening that a young Greek family is among the victims of the tragic attack in Trier," the ambassador said in tweet that responded to a message of condolences sent to Germany by Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias. He added that his thoughts are with all the victims.

Reichel also expressed condolences over the death of Esther Cohen, 96, the oldest Holocaust survivor in Greece, that was reported on Tuesday. "Ms Cohen was a particularly warm and charismatic person. Her 2014 meeting with Federal President Gauck was memorable," the ambassador said in another tweet that included a photograph of Gauck embracing Cohen during his visit to Greece.