2018 Münster attack

On 7 April 2018, a man drove a van into people seated outside restaurants in a pedestrianised square in the old part of the German city of Münster. He killed four people and injured about 20 others, six of them seriously, before committing suicide.

2018 Münster attack
Münster, Kiepenkerl -- 2014 -- 0290.jpg
2018 Münster attack is located in North Rhine-Westphalia
2018 Münster attack
2018 Münster attack (North Rhine-Westphalia)
2018 Münster attack is located in Germany
2018 Münster attack
2018 Münster attack (Germany)
LocationMünster, Germany
Coordinates51°57′51.0″N 7°37′34.5″E / 51.964167°N 7.626250°E / 51.964167; 7.626250Coordinates: 51°57′51.0″N 7°37′34.5″E / 51.964167°N 7.626250°E / 51.964167; 7.626250
Date7 April 2018 (2018-04-07)
15:27 CEST (13:27 UTC)
Attack type
Vehicle-ramming attack
WeaponsMotor vehicle
Deaths5 (including the perpetrator)
PerpetratorJens Alexander Rüther
Location of the attack


Tributes at the spot where the attack took place, the sign translates to "WHY?"

On 7 April 2018, a man drove a camper van into people seated outside restaurants in a pedestrianised square in the old part of the German city of Münster.[1][2] Police said the attacker drove into "several cafe and restaurant terraces in a major square in the centre of Münster".[2] The perpetrator then shot himself dead.[2] It was then found that his van was booby-trapped with a pistol connected to a wire.

The attack initially killed three people, including the perpetrator, and also injured about 20 others, six seriously.[2] Another victim died on 26 April.[3] A Dutch victim who was in a coma after the attack died almost four months later on 29 July.[4]

Prior to the attack, Münster had been planning to install security bollards in public areas, although the list of public spaces regarded as high-risk and slated to receive bollards did not include the location of this attack.[5]


The attacker was identified by media sources as a 48-year-old German national named Jens Alexander Rüther, born about "an hour south" of the city,[6][7] who had previously suffered from psychiatric illness.[7]

Media reported that Rüther was born on 1 May 1969 and had resided in Münster. Deutsche Welle described him as a "wealthy designer."[1] He was later known as small-time criminal, who stole cell phones and car radios to finance his drug addiction. Local reports claimed that he had been in contact with certain far-right groups but had not been an extremist himself.[citation needed] He had said in the past that he wanted to commit suicide in a spectacular way. Authorities also considered the possibility that he committed the crime due to relationship problems.[8]

He came from the Sauerland, grew up in Madfeld and graduated from high school Petrinum Brilon.[9] There had been five criminal proceedings against Jens Ruther, three of them at the public prosecutor's office Münster and two at the Arnsberg public prosecutor's office. The proceedings in Arnsberg dealt with two “family disputes” from 2014 and 2016. In Münster, he was accused of driver flight (Germany) | unauthorized removal from the accident site (2015), property damage (2015) and fraud (2016) . All proceedings were terminated due to insufficient suspicion.[10]

State Interior Minister Herbert Reul said on the day of the attack that there was no indication of an Islamist background of the attack.[7] On 18 April, Reul said that after an analysis by the security authorities, right-wing extremism was also ruled out as a motive. He said that, rather, the crime "had to do with the life" of the perpetrator and his "assignment of guilt".[11]

The crime was judged as extended suicide for personal reasons.[12]


Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "deeply shocked" about the crime. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his condolences to the victims and relatives. Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin condemned the crime and offered their sympathies. A public memorial service was held on the following Sunday.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Chelsom-Pill, Charlotte (10 April 2018). "German city of Münster searches for answers, days after deadly van attack". USA Today. DW. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Two killed in Germany as van ploughs into crowd in Muenster". BBC News. 7 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  3. ^ (www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. "Münster attack victim dies weeks after rampage | DW | 26.04.2018". DW.COM. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  4. ^ NOS news
  5. ^ "Do bollards offer protection against vehicle attacks?". DW. 8 March 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  6. ^ Huggler, Justin (8 April 2018). "German police arrest men suspected of terror plot on Berlin half marathon". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Diehl, Jörg; Hagen, Kevin (7 April 2018). "Attacke in Münster: Täter soll psychische Probleme gehabt haben" [Attack in Münster: perpetrator has had mental health problems]. Spiegel Online (in German). Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  8. ^ Jens R. hat seine Tat offensichtlich perfide kalkuliert, Die Welt, 7 April 2018
  9. ^ Täter von Münster stammt aus Madfeld - Ein Dorf unter Schock
  10. ^ "Polizei und Staatsanwaltschaft geben weitere Ermittlungsergebnisse zum Tatgeschehen in Münster bekannt". Gemeinsame Presseerklärung der Staatsanwaltschaft Münster und der Polizei Münster. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  11. ^ Kein rechtsextremer Hintergrund bei Todesfahrt von Münster, Rheinische Post, 19 April 2018
  12. ^ "Ermittler sind sich sicher: Fahrer handelte in Suizidabsicht". Gemeinsame Presseerklärung der Staatsanwaltschaft Münster und der Polizei Münster. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  13. ^ Merkel "zutiefst erschüttert" – Trump und Putin kondolieren, Die Welt, 7 April 2018