A Swedish man with a history of “psychiatric” problems stole a truck packed with dozens of butane canisters and led police on a wild chase Tuesday in Barcelona, until his ride was finally stopped in a hail of bullets.
The driver, identified by local media as Joakim Robin Berggren, was barreling down the wrong side of the Ronda del Litoral highway towards the heart of the city at around 11 a.m. when police opened fire, causing him to crash into a wall.
Officials do not believe the man was attempting to carry out a terrorist attack.
“The detained driver of the stolen butane gas truck has a psychiatric history. It was not a case of a terrorist act,” the Interior Ministry said in tweet.
Several orange butane gas canisters were thrown off into the road during the high-speed pursuit and three people suffered minor injuries, including a Brazilian woman whose leg was struck by one of the canisters, authorities said.
A Barcelona police spokeswoman told the AP that no one was wounded from the police gunshots.
Berggren, 32, was arrested and is being questioned. He was not carrying a weapon, officials said.
He was taken to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Some news outlets, including the UK’s Mirror, reported that the driver had been shot.
At least one gunshot was visible on the front windshield of the truck, which police said was stolen a day earlier.
Witness Jordi Sintes told La Vanguardia, “We heard sirens, and then a very strong blow. We have all turned and seen the butane truck braked suddenly.”
“Two motorbikes from the Guardia Urbana followed. They got off and pointed the driver with their pistols. He has opened his arms.”
Sintes added, “In a matter of a minute there have been cops from all directions. Some with machine guns. And in less than five minutes they had him handcuffed.”
Another witness, Mireia Ruiz told the AFP, “When people shouted at [the driver], he would laugh and make offensive gestures with his hand.”
Police launched a full investigation into the incident.
“We are working on the possibility that it could be a person with psychological imbalances or who has consumed substances,” regional police chief Joan Carles Molinero said during a press conference.