Spanish police open fire to stop gas truck speeding against traffic
Swedish man with history of psychiatric conditions is being questioned at hospital
An investigator examines inside the gas cylinder delivery truck. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters
Police in Barcelona have fired gunshots to stop a man who stole a butane gas truck and drove it at high speed against the flow of traffic on a major city road, ramming several cars along the way.
Authorities ruled out terrorism as a motive. Interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said the man, a Swedish citizen, has a history of psychiatric conditions and “it has not been any terrorist act”.
The 32-year-old suspect was arrested after police fired at the truck’s wheels to stop it, regional police chief Joan Carles Molinero told reporters.
The suspect is being questioned at a regional hospital where he was sent for a medical check-up.
A Brazilian woman suffered a leg injury when she was hit by one of several butane gas tanks that fell off the truck as the man tried to escape by speeding down a road near the harbour.
Mr Molinero said police started chasing the truck after the driver failed to obey orders to stop from officers who had seen it driving at high speed and dropping part of its load.
During the chase, the driver took a turn near the harbour and drove against traffic and into a highway exit where several cars were hit. It finally stopped when it crashed against one of the road’s walls.
Local and regional police officers arrested the driver, who carried no weapons and appeared unharmed.
“At the moment we have no indication whatsoever that he was planning a terrorist attack,” Mr Molinero said, but he added that police were investigating the man and searching the place where he lived.
“We are working on the possibility that it could be a person with psychological imbalances or who has consumed substances.”
Spain has kept its national security alert one step below maximum since July 2015, following violent attacks across Europe.