Germany: internment for a woman suspected of a massacre

German justice ordered Thursday the psychiatric internment of an employee of an establishment for the disabled near Berlin, suspected of having killed four people and seriously injured a fifth, for a reason still not clarified.

There are “signs corresponding” to a psychiatric illness concerning this 51-year-old woman, an employee of the center belonging to the Protestant Church and who was presented to a judge, Potsdam prosecutor Wilfried Lehmann told AFP.

This detention judge “ordered his placement in a psychiatric clinic,” he added.

The victims, two men and two women, were stabbed to death on Wednesday evening in this center of Potsdam, a city adjacent to Berlin, according to the daily Bild.

The police, alerted around 9 p.m. (7 p.m. GMT), for their part did not give details at this stage on the murder weapon but according to the German agency dpa, the victims were found with serious injuries to the throat. .

“The injuries of all the victims are according to the findings the result of the use of intense violence,” police said in a statement, without being able to immediately give details of the circumstances.

“We are still at the very beginning of the investigations,” said Wilfried Lehmann, adding that delivering certain details could compromise the investigation.

Police officers in front of a clinic in Potsdam where four people were killed on April 29, 2021 in Germany (AFP – Odd ANDERSEN)

The employee “on whom there are strong suspicions” of being the author of the facts, was arrested shortly after. His motivations remain “undetermined” at this stage.

After the killing she is suspected of, the employee returned home and notified her husband who alerted the police, according to Bild.

– “An incomprehensible act” –

This woman has so far refused to comment on the facts, writes Bild, who specifies that the seriously injured victim is out of danger.

The bodies were found in different rooms. According to local media, some residents had lived since their childhood in this specialized structure which includes several units of varying lengths of stay.

The establishment, named Thusnelda-von-Saldern-Haus, specializes in welcoming and supporting people with physical or mental disabilities, especially blind and autistic people.

Police officers in front of a clinic in Potsdam where four people were killed on April 29, 2021 in Germany (AFP - Odd ANDERSEN)

Police officers in front of a clinic in Potsdam where four people were killed on April 29, 2021 in Germany (AFP – Odd ANDERSEN)

Some 65 people live in this structure which employs more than 80 people and belongs to the welfare services of the Protestant Lutheran Church.

The site, managed by a diaconal service provider specializing in the fields of health, education and employment in particular, includes housing, schools, and workshops.

At first, the police indicated that it was a clinic.

Specialized police teams were dispatched to the scene to find traces and evidence while Potsdam residents and residents laid flowers and candles in front of the establishment.

A large police force was also deployed.

The leader of the Brandenburg region, of which Potsdam is the capital, Dietmar Woidke, said he was “shocked by this horrible news”.

“My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones,” he said, stressing that it was a “difficult day” for his region.

For his part, the mayor of the city, Mike Schubert, considered that it was an “incomprehensible act”.

A ceremony in memory of the victims is scheduled for Thursday evening, according to Matthias Fichtmüller of the theological council of the establishment.

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