A Syrian man has attacked and killed a woman he was reportedly in love with, hitting her with a meat cleaver in the southern German town of Reutlingen.
Another woman and a man were also injured in the attack. Local authorities have identified the man as a 21-year-old asylum-seeker from Syria who was known to the police and had previously been charged with causing bodily harm.
He attacked the woman with a meat cleaver taken from the kebab shop where they both worked shortly after 4:30pm on Sunday. The German newspaper Bild reports the woman was pregnant.
German police said they were working on the assumption the attack was a “crime of passion”
“When a man and woman have an argument, we assume that we are dealing with a crime of passion,” a local police spokesman told DPA, the German news agency, after media reported that the attacker and the murdered woman were close and worked in the same snack bar.
Local media report that the man was arguing with the woman before attacking her. Mohammad Alhelo, who also worked at the kebab shop, described the attacker as a “friendly guy” who was in love with the woman he killed.
“She was from Poland and cleared the tables for us,” Mr Alhelo, 20, told the local newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung. The attacker, he added, had come to Germany from Syria one and a half years ago.
Mr Alhelo was re-stocking the vending machine when the attack began. “I was afraid and ran away,” he said.
A witness told Bild that a driver intentionally hit the man with his car, preventing him from harming more people.
“The attacker was completely out of his mind. He even ran after a police car with his machete,” the witness said. “A BMW driver then accelerated and knocked him down. After that he lay on the ground and did not move.”
The man was locally named as 21-year-old Alper, H., the son of a kebab shop owner.
Images on social media show the attacker with a bloodied forehead but alive and in handcuffs on the ground after police arrived on the scene. He was arrested minutes after killing the woman.
Police sealed off Reutlingen, a town of 100,000 near Stuttgart, but later said that there was no evidence that the attack was linked to international terror. It was the third act of violence in southern Germany in the past two weeks.
On July 18, police shot dead a 17-year-old asylum-seeker who injured people on a train near the Bavarian city of Würzburg with an axe.
A 18-year-old German of Iranian descent, who obsessively researched mass shootings, killed nine people on a shooting spree in Munich.