One killed in Marseille after car crashes into bus shelters - police

 

MARSEILLE, France, Aug 21 (Reuters) - At least one person was killed and another injured in Marseille on Monday when a van crashed into two bus shelters in different parts of the French city, police said, in an incident not being treated as terrorism at this stage.

Police advised the public to avoid the Old Port area where the driver, a 35-year-old man, was arrested.

A source close to the investigation told Reuters the suspect was known to police for minor crimes and had psychological issues. France's counter-terrorism prosecutor said it had not taken up the case at this stage.

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Car slams into bus stop in France
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Car slams into bus stop in France
French police secure the area in the French port city of Marseille, France, August 21, 2017 after one person was killed and another injured after a car crashed into two bus shelters, a French police source told Reuters on Monday. REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson
French police secure the area in the French port city of Marseille, France, August 21, 2017 where one person was killed and another injured after a car crashed into two bus shelters, a French police source told Reuters on Monday. REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson
French police conduct their investigation in the French port city of Marseille after one person was killed and another injured after a vehicle crashed into two bus shelters, in Marseille, France, August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson
French police conduct their investigation in the French port city of Marseille after one person was killed and another injured after a vehicle crashed into two bus shelters, in Marseille, France, August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson
French police conduct their investigation in the French port city of Marseille after one person was killed and another injured after a vehicle crashed into two bus shelters, in Marseille, France, August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson
A white tent covers a van as French police conduct their investigation in the French port city of Marseille after one person was killed and another injured after a vehicle crashed into two bus shelters, in Marseille, France, August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Laurenson
A French criminal police officer takes notes as a forensic police officers search the site following a car crash on August 21, 2017, in the southern Mediterranean city of Marseille. At least one person has died in Marseille after a car crashed into people waiting at two different bus stops in the southern French port city, police sources told AFP, adding that the suspected driver had been arrested afterwards. The police sources, who asked not to be identified, did not say whether the incident was being treated as a terror attack or an accident. / AFP PHOTO / boris HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
French forensic police inspect the site following a car crash on August 21, 2017, in the southern Mediterranean city of Marseille. At least one person has died in Marseille after a car crashed into people waiting at two different bus stops in the southern French port city, police sources told AFP, adding that the suspected driver had been arrested afterwards. The police sources, who asked not to be identified, did not say whether the incident was being treated as a terror attack or an accident. / AFP PHOTO / boris HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
A French forensic police officer searches the site following a car crash on August 21, 2017, in the southern Mediterranean city of Marseille. At least one person has died in Marseille after a car crashed into people waiting at two different bus stops in the southern French port city, police sources told AFP, adding that the suspected driver had been arrested afterwards. The police sources, who asked not to be identified, did not say whether the incident was being treated as a terror attack or an accident. / AFP PHOTO / boris HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
A white sheet is erected as a body of a victim is evacuated to a waiting ambulance while French forensic police officer search the site following a car crash on August 21, 2017, in the southern Mediterranean city of Marseille. At least one person has died in Marseille after a car crashed into people waiting at two different bus stops in the southern French port city, police sources told AFP, adding that the suspected driver had been arrested afterwards. The police sources, who asked not to be identified, did not say whether the incident was being treated as a terror attack or an accident. / AFP PHOTO / boris HORVAT (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
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"The arrest was made in a surprisingly calm fashion, no gunshots were exchanged," David Reverdy, of the Alliance police union in Marseille, told BFM TV.

The driver first hit a bus shelter around 8:15 a.m. (0615 GMT) in the poorer northern part of the city, before ramming into a second one an hour later, several kilometers (miles) to the south.

"The distance traveled by the driver suggests a certain determination," Reverdy said.

"But we can ask ourselves: why these places? If one wanted to cause carnage, other places in Marseille, at another time of day, would have been more logical," he said.

The incident comes as Spanish police hunt for a 22-year-old suspect they believe was behind the wheel of a van that plowed through crowds in Barcelona on Thursday, killing 13.

France has been under a state of emergency since Islamist militants killed 130 people in and around Paris in November 2015. Another 86 people were killed in an attack in Nice in July last year, when a Tunisian man drove a truck along the seafront boulevard, mowing down Bastille Day revelers.

(Reporting by Francois Rosnoblet; additional reporting by Emmanuel Jarry in Paris, writing by Michel Rose; Editing by Richard Lough and Robin Pomeroy)

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