The suspects accused of setting a homeless person on fire in the Berlin underground have been identified as refugees from Syria and Libya, police confirmed. Six of them surrendered to police, while the seventh was arrested in a police operation.
“Six suspects turned themselves in at various police stations [Monday] evening, [and] another suspect was arrested last night by undercover investigators,” an official police release said.
The seven young men allegedly set a homeless person on fire as he slept at the Berlin Schonleinstrasse station overnight into Christmas Day on Sunday, police say.
The attackers fled the scene, but the victim survived without any injuries after passersby helped to extinguish the flames.
Following the incident, police released images of the perpetrators, asking locals to help identify them. Law enforcement officials qualified the incident as an “attempted murder,” and announced that an investigation was underway.
Police have now been able to establish the identities of all of the suspects, and have stated the men are all refugees aged between 15 and 21.
“The seven suspects are all young men between 15 and 21 years of age,” Thomas Neuendorf, deputy head of the Berlin police press office, told Ruptly video agency.
“Six of the suspects were born in Syria and one of the suspects was born in Libya. All of the suspects have refugee status here [Germany],” the official said.
It is so far not clear when exactly the suspects entered the country, Spiegel Online reports, citing a police spokeswoman.
Police have also identified the main suspect in the case, Berlin’s RBB reports. “We know who the prime suspect is. It is the 21-year-old [refugee],” the police spokesperson told the media outlet.
Berlin’s minister for the interior, Andreas Geisel, branded the attack “inhumane” and thanked the passersby for coming to the aid of the homeless person.
“I am horrified and I am thanking all those who courageously helped. This is truly a fellow-humanity,” Geisel said, as quoted by Die Zeit.
Police in Berlin recently used video images to arrest another underground attacker. Two weeks ago CCTV footage emerged showing a male kicking a young woman down the stairs at a station, breaking her arm.
Although the incident happened back in October, police released the video evidence over a month later, asking for help in the identification of the assailant. On December 18, law enforcement finally managed to detain the attacker, who turned out to be a 27-year-old Bulgarian man. He is now being investigated alongside his two brothers and another person seen in the CCTV footage during the assault.