Prosecutors Open Murder Case Against Migrant Accused of Pushing Child in Front of Train

The Eritrean man suspected of pushing a mother and her child onto train tracks is being investigated on murder charges.

Prosecutors said the man's motives remain unclear.

German prosecutors have opened an investigation for murder and attempted murder against the 40-year-old Eritrean man suspected of pushing a mother and her 8-year-old son onto train tracksat Frankfurt's main railway station on Monday.

The boy was killed by an oncoming train, while his mother managed to survive by rolling onto a narrow footpath between the tracks.

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At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, federal police President Dieter Romann said the man also attempted to push another 78-year-old woman onto the tracks, and then fled. He was pursued by witnesses and a state policeman in civilian clothes, who then arrested him outside the station.

The prosecutors' office also confirmed to DW further details about the suspect: the man was married with three children, had been living in Switzerland since 2006, and was neither under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the attack. Prosecutors added that the suspect did not know the victims.

At the press conference in Berlin, Romann added that the Eritrean, who he named only as A, had applied for asylum in Switzerland on arrival in 2006, which had been granted in 2008.

Romann added that he had had a steady job, had been considered "well-integrated," but had recently caught the attention of Swiss police through a series of violent incidents: he recently threatened a neighbor with a knife, and had been subject of an arrest warrant.

The suspect's motives remain unclear. He has not yet spoken about the attack, and there is no evidence of a connection to the shooting last week of an Eritrean by a man with far-right sympathies in Wächtersbach, a small town about 34 miles (55 kilometers) east of Frankfurt.

News agency dpa reported that prosecutors were also planning a psychiatric test.

Swiss police confirmed via Twitter on Tuesday morning that the suspected perpetrator was a resident of Zurich and had a residency permit, before adding that they were in contact with German authorities.

He is also believed to have traveled to Frankfurt from Basel, Switzerland a few days ago.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer interrupted his holiday on Monday to meet with representatives of the security forces and discuss a series of violent incidents in recent weeks, including the attacks in Frankfurt and Wächtersbach, attacks on members of the Left party, and bomb threats against mosques.

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People have been laying flowers and candles on the platform at Frankfurt railway station on Tuesday, and a public memorial service is planned at the spot in the evening.

The shock of the incident has spread throughout Germany, reigniting political debates about immigration and safety at railway stations. "After this horrible crime there need to be fast and noticeable consequences for the perpetrator," Philipp Amthor, interior policy spokesman for Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told dpa.

"On top of the criminal procedures, measures to end residency need to be discussed. On top of that I am open to a discussion about better security provisions at our railway stations."

Martin Burkert, transport spokesman for the Social Democratic Party (SPD), told the Bild newspaper on Tuesday that there was a lack of police officers at major railway stations.

Meanwhile, Alice Weidel, leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), had tweeted four times about the incident by Tuesday afternoon, blaming the 8-year-old's death on the "borderless welcome culture" throughout Europe.

You can read this article as it appears at Deutsche Welle here.

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