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Crime

Police officer shoots knife-wielding man in Berlin Cathedral ‘rampage’ - also wounding a fellow cop

Police said the 53-year-old Austrian man was shot in the legs, and that a second officer was injured by the gunfire

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 June, 2018, 12:47am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 June, 2018, 1:30am

A German police officer shot and wounded an Austrian man “rampaging” at Berlin Cathedral on Sunday after he wielded a knife and was “verbally aggressive”, officials said.

“Shortly after 4pm police shot at a rampaging man at Berlin Cathedral,” police said in a tweet. “He was wounded in the leg.”

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But the officer also stuck his colleague in the gunfire, Berlin police spokesman Winfrid Wenzel said.

Wenzel said the incident began when the man entered the cathedral, known locally as Berliner Dom, and waved a knife in the area of the altar. Cathedral employees called police, and dozens of people were evacuated from the holy site.

One of the two officers responding to the call opened fire, wounding the man, Wenzel said. The second officer also was inadvertently wounded by the shot or shots fired by his colleague, Berlin police said.

Both the suspect and the police officer were taken to a hospital. News agency Dpa says the officer is in serious condition.

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Officials said the suspect was 53 years old, but did not identify him. Armed officers were seen cordoning off the entrances to the landmark in the heart of the German capital.

The area around the cathedral is typically crowded with tourists and visitors, particularly on Sunday. A Sunday evening prayer service at the church was canceled.

“Based on what we know so far, we have no information that the suspect in any way had a terrorist or Islamist motive,” a police spokesman said.

Berliner Dom is the city’s main Protestant cathedral, and one of its top tourist attractions.

The iron-domed house of worship is on Museum Island off east Berlin’s main Unter den Linden boulevard and close to the Alexanderplatz shopping district.

Entrances to the building were blocked off with red-and-white police tape and several officers with automatic weapons were patrolling the scene.

DPA news agency said some witnesses were taken away to receive psychological counselling.