Essen, Germany (dpa) – Police in Germany have ruled out a terrorist motive in the case of a man armed with a knife who was shot dead by an officer in the western city of Gelsenkirchen.
A search of the 37-year-old suspect’s flat did not confirm earlier suspicions that terrorism may have been at play, police said. Sources told dpa that the man had serious psychological issues and was receiving medical treatment.
The suspect had hit a patrol car parked outside a police station with a club on Sunday evening. He then reportedly wielded a knife and threatened two police officers, aged 23 and 41, investigators said. A knife was found at the scene of the incident.
Police are also looking into allegations that the man, a Turkish national, called out “Allahu akbar” – which means “God is greatest” in Arabic.
An investigation is now under way into whether the man attacked the officers, police said. The 23-year-old, a police inspector candidate, shot the suspect four times, leading to his “immediate” death.
The man was known to police for several past acts of violence, including resisting police officers.
Investigators confirmed that there were “indications of a psychological illness,” but did not offer more concrete details.
Sources told dpa that the man had proposed, among other things, to establish an Islamic place of worship in a public park. But he was not said to have been a case for intelligence services.
His possible motive is still under investigation. His flat was searched overnight by special police units. Data storage devices were seized and still have to be analysed.
According to the German Police University, police officers shot dead 11 people in the country in 2018, down from 14 in 2017. In 2016, it had also been 11. Data for last year have not yet been issued.