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German town holds memorial for victims of deadly knife attack
BERLIN – The German city of Würzburg is holding a memorial service for the victims of a brutal knife attack that left three people dead, while questions about the perpetrator’s possible motive remain unanswered.
Friday’s assault inside and outside a store in the center of the Bavarian town left five other people seriously injured. The suspect, a 24-year-old Somali, was shot in the leg by police and arrested after people surrounded him and tried to hold him at bay with chairs and sticks.
Investigators are still struggling to understand what is behind the attack by what they believe to be a lone assailant. They assess his sanity and try to determine if he has radicalized as an Islamic extremist. It is not known whether he deliberately targeted women.
“We are all touched, because it could have happened to anyone,” Catholic Bishop of Würzburg Franz Jung said during the service in the city’s cathedral. It was attended by relatives of the victims, the regional Protestant bishop, a representative of the city’s Muslim communities, the main Jewish leader of Germany, political leaders from Bavaria, as well as police and rescuers.
Mayor Christian Schuchardt warns that “the crimes of individuals should never be attributed or extended to ethnic groups, religions or nationalities”, adding that Somalis and refugees in general should not be blamed.
Flowers are piled up in front of the nearby store where the attack began. Bavarian Governor Markus Soeder lays a wreath and describes the attack as “simply incomprehensible, appalling, senseless”.
“We must never respond to such a heinous act with hatred or revenge,” Soeder said. “I read on the Internet that some people say, ‘He was an immigrant.’ Yes, but didn’t people with an immigrant background also help in exactly the same situation? “
The suspect was sent to jail yesterday pending a possible indictment. The regional criminal police office said today that prison officials have been told he could be a danger to himself, the dpa news agency reports.