German authorities have opened a murder investigation against a man who pushed an eight-year-old boy and his mother in front of an oncoming train in a Frankfurt station on Monday, according to reports.
The 40-year-old man from Eritrea is being investigated on charges of murder and attempted murder after he was arrested outside the station following the incident, according to media reports.
Shocked bystanders watched as the man pushed the boy and his mother onto the tracks. The boy was killed by the impact of the train, while his mother survived after she rolled out of harm’s way into a narrow space beside the rails.
After the incident, the man attempted to run away from the station but was stopped by bystanders until police officers arrested him.
In a press conference after the incident, German authorities said the man had also unsuccessfully attempted to push another woman, 78, onto the tracks.
The man, named only as A. by German police, had been living in Switzerland since 2008, where he was granted asylum after fleeing his native Eritrea.
Media reports on Tuesday revealed that he is married with three children and that he did not know any of his victims.
While German officials said that the man had a steady job and was considered to be “well-integrated” into Swiss society, he had recently been on the radar of Swiss police after reportedly threatening a neighbour for unclear reasons.
The man is thought to have travelled to Frankfurt a few days before the incident, but the motives behind his actions remain unclear.
German news agency dpa said that he was going to be submitted to a psychiatric test and police have ruled out that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the attack.
Additional media reports say that there is no evidence that the incident is linked with the recent shooting of another Eritrean national by a far-right sympathizer in a town east of Frankfurt.
The incident shocked Germany and the world, and people in Frankfurt have been laying flowers and candles at the site of the incident, with a memorial planned later on Tuesday.