Crashed into church

Truck driver (32) now in custody

10.07.2024 16:52

The truck driver (32) who drove into a Pentecostal church in Brunn am Gebirge is now in custody. This was announced by the Wiener Neustadt Regional Court on Wednesday. The man is being investigated for serious coercion, damage to property and endangering physical safety.

He has been remanded in custody until July 24. As reported, the 32-year-old is said to have driven backwards against the church in Brunn am Gebirge (Mödling district) several times on Monday. At the time, a priest and two other people were in the building; they were all unharmed. "We immediately thought of an attack," said Pastor Ruben Avram. "Is he armed, does he get out, does he come in."

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We immediately thought of an attack. If he's armed, he gets out, he comes in.

Pastor Ruben Avram

Church doesn't know Romanians
The Romanian-speaking church does not know the accused. "The man is neither a parishioner nor has he participated in our church life." When he was arrested, the Romanian citizen is said to have shouted "God will strike you".

On the way to the place of worship, the man was involved in five traffic accidents with the truck. Property damage was caused four times, in one case a pedestrian was struck and slightly injured. Two cars were also damaged in the vicinity of the church.

The Wiener Neustadt regional court (Bild: P. Huber)
The Wiener Neustadt regional court

Crime confessed, further incidents
The accused, who has lived in Austria since 2020, basically confessed to the incidents during his first interrogation. The church had destroyed his life, he said. The Romanian is said to have already become conspicuous on the premises in Brunn a few weeks ago and torn up a Bible. "There have been similar negative situations in other congregations where he has gone on the rampage. In one case, he was also banned by the police," said Pastor Avram.

On Wednesday, he was remanded in custody - initially until July 24 - due to the risk of committing the crime. The public prosecutor's office is investigating serious coercion, serious damage to property and endangering physical safety.

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