Man arrested after Berlin truck attack released because of insufficient evidence

Posted at 1:21 PM, Dec 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-20 13:23:53-05

BERLIN — German prosecutors say a man arrested after the deadly truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market has been released because there isn’t sufficient evidence to tie him to the rampage.

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that that the man, a Pakistani citizen who came to Germany last year as an asylum-seeker, denied involvement in the attack that killed 12 people and injured nearly 50 others.

They noted that witnesses were able to follow the truck’s driver from the scene but lost track of him. The man arrested matched witness descriptions of the truck driver, but investigators haven’t been able to prove that he was in the truck’s cab at the time of the attack.

Under German law, prosecutors have until the end of the calendar day following an arrest to seek a formal arrest warrant keeping a suspect in custody.

German authorities said at least 12 people are dead and almost were 50 injured after the truck ran into a crowded Christmas market in the center of Berlin.

The truck rammed into the market outside the capital’s popular Christmas market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

AP Television footage showed a large truck with its windshield smashed out on the sidewalk alongside the market, with a swarm of ambulances nearby. A large Christmas tree was toppled over nearby in the street.

A witness told the Associated Press the truck missed him by about ten feet and said, “It was definitely deliberate.”

Authorities in cities around the world, including New York City, saw increased police patrols at Christmas and holiday markets as a result of the attack.