The Eritrean man accused of murdering a young boy at a German train station had previously been featured in a Swiss brochure as an example of successful integration, it has emerged.
Habte Araya, 40, was pictured in 2017 by the Swiss labour agency which had found him a job, and gave an interview in which he said he ‘liked almost everything about Switzerland’.
‘When I first came communication was difficult because of the language. But that is no longer the case. I like the fact that everyone is helped here regardless of whether they are rich or poor,’ he said at the time.
He praised the Swiss education system and said: ‘I want a better and easier life for my children than I had.’
According to the brochure, the labour agency helped him find a job as a fitter for the Zurich transport authority, where he said he hoped to work for 25 years.
However, his life appears to have unravelled since then as Swiss police said he was on the run in Germany after a separate incident of violence last week.
Habte Araya, 40, was pictured by a Swiss labour agency which found him a job and gave an interview in which he said he ‘liked almost everything about Switzerland’
Araya (pictured right) was once heralded as an example of successful integration but his life appears to have unravelled since then
Officers were called to an address to the south of Zurich, on Thursday after the man locked his wife and children in their apartment along with a neighbour.
He had also threatened his neighbour verbally and with a knife, police said.
In Zurich, police officer Bruno Keller said an investigation had uncovered ‘no evidence of radicalisation or ideological motive’ for the man’s actions.
The married father-of-three had also undergone psychiatric treatment this year, said authorities in the Swiss canton of Zurich.
Those psychological problems had kept him off work since January.
He now faces charges of murder and attempted murder over the attack on Monday which has shocked Germany and left witnesses in need of trauma counselling.
The eight-year-old boy was killed on Monday as a high-speed ICE train was pulling into Frankfurt’s central station, one of Germany’s busiest.
Araya allegedly also pushed the boy’s mother onto the tracks at Frankfurt’s main station, and tried but failed to do the same to a 78-year-old woman.
The mother, 40, was able to roll off the tracks at the last moment to avoid the arriving ICE train that killed her son.
Araya faces charges of murder and attempted murder over the attack on Monday which has shocked Germany and left witnesses in need of trauma counselling
Araya (pictured) allegedly also pushed the boy’s mother onto the tracks at Frankfurt’s main station, and tried but failed to do the same to a 78-year-old woman
‘While the mother could roll off after the fall and move herself onto a narrow footpath between two tracks, her child was caught by the arriving train and died, on the spot, of his injuries,’ said a statement by Frankfurt prosecutors.
The suspect ran down a platform and across tracks but was followed by passers-by including an off-duty officer, and overpowered by police two blocks from the station.
Citizens have laid flower wreaths, candles and stuffed toys at the site of the killing and a memorial service was scheduled at the station in the evening.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer cut short his summer holiday to meet the heads of major security agencies in Berlin.
Prosecutors said the man in custody had not yet spoken about a motive and police have said there appeared to be no connection between the suspect and the victims.
Police and emergency services on the scene on Monday after a high-speed ICE train hit and killed a young child at Frankfurt’s busy central station
German federal police chief Dieter Romann said it appeared the suspect had not been listed as wanted in European police databases and had been able to cross borders freely.
There is no indication that he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to prosecutors.
If formally charged, tried and then found guilty, he would face a likely term of life in prison, they said.
Employees at the Swiss workers’ agency where he worked as a building fitter described Araya in local media as ‘reserved and a bit shy’.
He was described as a hard worker, not somebody who stands around talking and wasting time and they said he was ‘reliable’.
Araya arrived in Switzerland in 2006 and applied for asylum status which he was granted in 2008, according to German media.