German authorities say they believe a Turkish suspect "acted with intent" when he crashed into a group of schoolchildren last week, killing an 8-year-old girl and injuring two more, according to reports.
The horrifying incident unfolded at around 8 a.m. on Friday morning in Witzenhausen, a small town in the state of Hesse.
A group of children was walking on a sidewalk in front of a daycare center when they were struck by a car driven by a lone male.
"The man deviated from his lane to the right for an unexplained reason and ultimately left the road completely," police explained in a statement shortly after the crash.
"As a result, the vehicle collided with a group of several pupils who were walking to the local elementary school on an adjacent, somewhat wider section of sidewalk directly in front of a daycare center. The small car then crashed into a stone wall."
Three girls, aged 7 and 8, were rushed to hospital with serious injuries.
Little Imke, 8, passed away later that day.
Authorities have launched an investigation into murder and attempted murder, saying they believe the suspect, a 30-year-old Turkish national whose license was previously revoked, may have intentionally slammed his car into the group.
"At first, investigators assumed it was an accident and there was no indication that it was intentional," 7Sur7 reports. "However, during the investigation, a previously unknown witness appeared. His statements put events 'in a completely different light,' they said on Monday."
According to information provided by an eyewitness, along with expert analysis, there is strong evidence suggesting "the 30-year-old made an active steering movement in the direction of the primary school children and consequently caused the death of a child and the injury of several children deliberately," the public prosecutor explained.
The suspect, who is believed to have previously worked in his brother's kebab shop, was placed in a mental hospital for evaluation.
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