A 27-year-old man who stabbed four people with a knife on a German high-speed train apparently attacked his victims “at random” and showed signs of mental illness, authorities said Sunday.
Police and investigators told reporters in Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz that the attacker’s intentions were still unclear, but there is no indication currently of a terror motive. The suspect was arrested on the train after Saturday’s attack, offering no resistance to police, and has since been taken to a psychiatric clinic.
Shortly before 9 a.m. on Saturday, police received a call that a man with a knife was attacking passengers on Intercity Express train 928, which was traveling from Regensburg to Nuremberg in southeastern Germany.
Using an 8-centimeter (3.1-inch) folding knife, the suspect first went after a 26-year-old man in the same train car, wounding him in the head. The suspect then attacked a 60-year-old man, who was wounded on his head and torso, and wounded another 60-year-old man. He then fled to another train car and stabbed a 39-year-old man on his upper body.
All four victims were local men. Two of the four remained in the hospital on Sunday.
Police said the suspect, a Syrian citizen, came to Germany in 2014 and was granted asylum in 2016. He had been living in Passa and reportedly lost his job the day before the attack.
Investigators said an initial evaluation suggested he suffered from mental illness, including potential “paranoid schizophrenia,” said chief prosecutor Gerhard Neuhof.
The suspect reportedly believed he had been followed by the police “for some time” and attacked his first victim because he thought the man was threatening him and “wanted to kill him,” Neuhof said.