Austria car attack
The driver of an SUV ploughed into a crowd in a busy shopping area. Twitter

Three people have been killed and 34 injured after a man drove a car into a crowd of people in a busy shopping area in Austria.

According to the Kleine Zeitung newspaper, the green SUV was driven at speeds of 62mph along Herrengasse, in Austria's second biggest city Graz.

The vehicle hit a cyclist and a pedestrian before ploughing into the crowd of shoppers. Eyewitnesses reported seeing several people crashing into the windshield and flying over the van. Dead bodies were left lying face down in the road after the vehicle sped through streets. The motorist then got out of the car and randomly attacked passers-by with a knife including two elderly people.

A killer used his car as a weapon and deliberately ran people down on a rampage. The perpetrator is in custody.
- City Council Statement

The killing rampage stopped when the driver parked his battered car outside a police station in a nearby Schmiedgasse, where he was finally subdued

Describing the scene art gallery worker Helmut Reinisch told Kleine Zeitung: "I heard a little hissing sound as it went past at maybe 100-150 km/h. Then I heard loud screams and went out and saw lying on the ground a child and a man and two bikes that looked as if they had been rolled over.

"I immediately called the rescue, but the driver got out and attacked with a knife before anyone could arrest him - the police, the people," he explained. "Everyone then rushed in to help."

Four helicopters and 50 ambulances were sent to the area. Doctors attempted to treat the victims at the scene, but were unable to save three people including a seven-year-old boy and a woman.

More than 30 pedestrians were hurt; 10 people were seriously injured and at least one was in a critical condition.

The suspect is described as a 26-year-old Austrian of Bosnian origin who works as a professional driver and is married with two children. Police have confirmed he has been arrested.

A statement from the city council said: "At 12pm there was an appalling incident in the centre of Graz, which has caused major alarm and left the city deeply shaken. A killer used his car as a weapon and deliberately ran people down on a rampage. The perpetrator is in custody."

The governor of Graz, Hermann Schuetzenhoefer, described the attacker as a "deranged" lone assassin and said the lunchtime attack was deliberate.

Mr Schuetzenhoefer said the suspect was "mentally disorientated" and was said to be distressed over personal problems when he targeted his victims.

Speaking at a press conference he said: "We are shocked and is no explanation and no excuse for this attack. We have much to do to ensure cohesion in our community, which has clearly become difficult for many people. I appeal to everyone to seek unity in their lives and build bridges, not walls."

The deputy governor, Michael Schickhofer, called the tragedy "incomprehensible" and said he could not express the city's pain.

Wilhelm Krautwaschl, the Bishop of Graz, said he was deeply saddened by the attack. Writing on Facebook he said: "Shocked about what happened, I pray for the victims and for those hurrying to help them."

Police said there were no indications of a terrorist attack. A cordon has been set up in the area where the incident occurred.

A memorial service for the victims was held at the Grazer Stadtpfarrkirche at 6pm this afternoon.

The 2015 Austrian Grand Prix is currently being held at the Spielberg Ring about 40 miles from Graz.