At least two people are dead and around thirty more are injured, according to the BBC, after a 26-year-old Austrian man in a Daewoo Rexton SUV drove into a crowd and started stabbing people at a square hosting an event related to the Austrian Grand Prix in nearby Graz. [UPDATED]
[UPDATE: 11:50 AM EDT] More details have been released about the driver and the numbers of injured pedestrians. According to The Independent, over thirty pedestrians were among the injured. Three were children, and ten were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. (We initially reported that over fifty pedestrians were injured and have updated the paragraph above.)
The driver is an Austrian man of Bosnian heritage who works as a professional driver and is married, with two children. He was arrested immediately following the incident.
A city spokesperson told The Independent that the driver started the rampage at Zweiglgasse, killing one person there. Mayor Siegfried Nagl of Graz was riding a Vespa near Zweiglgasse and told The Independent that the driver’s SUV overtook a bus at a high rate of speed, hitting a man in the process.
Per the spokesman, the driver then drove over the Schönaugasse bridge and into a cafe seating area on the Jakominiplatz square on Herrengasse.
“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,” Dr. Sea Rottman told Sky News, as quoted by The Independent. “Apparently the guy was attacking two elderly people with a knife and then attacking police with a knife when he got out.”
Pedestrians fled inside local shops for safety after the SUV drove into the crowded seating area.
The Graz city council has released the following statement, as published in The Independent:
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.
Police told The Independent that they believe the driver is suffering from mental illness.
[EARLIER:] Eyewitnesses report that the car was traveling at a high rate of speed when it entered the town square. Per The Independent, Police say the man got out of the car after driving into the car and started stabbing survivors. A seven-year-old boy is reportedly one of the dead.
The incident occurred on Herrengasse, Graz’s main shopping street, around noon local time. The street is popular with tourists.
The BBC reports that the part of the city that was hosting the celebration has been sealed off as emergency crews work and at least two bodies were spotted covered in blankets.
Correction: We initially reported the car was a Ssangyong Rexton, however, J-Tenno points out that it is actually the Daewoo Rexton, a rebadge of the Ssangyong. The paragraph above has been updated.
Photo credit: AP Images
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