Berlin police, investigating the incident as an act of terrorism, admitted on Tuesday that the asylum seeker detained on Monday might be not the driver of the truck that rammed into the Christmas market. They also warned the public to remain attentive and vigilant, Joinfo.com reports with reference to Deutsche Welle.
“As far as I know, it is in fact uncertain whether that really was the driver,” Berlin’s police chief Klaus Kandt said Tuesday at a press conference.
Kandt’s admission means that the perpetrator may still be at large and armed.
Authorities had arrested a 23-year-old Pakistani on suspicion of driving the truck that plowed into a crowd of people at a Christmas market in central Berlin Monday evening, killing 12 and injuring 48.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere earlier confirmed that the incident had been an intentional attack. The suspect, de Maiziere said, had arrived in Germany on December 31, 2015 and applied for asylum.
A Polish man, who was in the passenger seat of the crashed truck, was found shot dead at the scene. De Maiziere admitted earlier that a gun had not been recovered.
However, the detained man denies any involvement in the attack. Ahead of the Kandt’s admission, Germany’s Die Welt newspaper quoted security sources of saying the arrested man was not believed to be the perpetrator.
A Berlin police chief reportedly told the paper: “We have the wrong man, and therefore a new situation. The true perpetrator is still armed, at large and can cause fresh damage.”
Speaking to German news agency DPA following the press conference, Kandt said investigators were continuing to inspect the truck used in the attack, searching for finger prints, blood and smudge marks. “I estimate that the current investigation will take somewhat longer,” he said, adding that it could take a few days before new evidence comes to light.