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UM's Moritz Wagner checks in on family, friends after Berlin attack

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Moritz Wagner

Moritz Wagner's first thought was:

I've been there.

Wagner, a sophomore on Michigan's basketball team, got word late Monday of the tragedy in his hometown of Berlin, where a truck plowed through a Christmas market full of locals and tourists, killing 12 and injuring many more.

"This place where it happened, it's a place where I know for a fact I and Malik, as well, have been plenty of times," Wagner said around midday Tuesday, speaking of himself and another Berlin-born Division I basketball player in the area, Detroit Mercy freshman Malik Eichler. "It's a weird feeling.

"I saw that and checked in with my family and friends. They're all good."

Wagner, 19, who soon will be making the 4,000-plus-mile trip home to spend four days for the holidays, described the market as a "nice little European street with sights as well as a lot of tourism going on, especially during Christmas."

"There's a lot of people there," Wagner said. "At first I just heard it was a truck going into the market, I didn't know it was Berlin. Then I realized it, and it hit me.

"I looked up how many people died and got injured, because it's different when it's your hometown, even though it shouldn't be. It's just different when you know, OK, all my friends and family there.

"I checked in right away to see that everyone's OK."

Law-enforcement agencies in Germany are suspecting terrorism for the attack, which was reminiscent to one that took place in Nice, France, in July, killing more than 80 people.

The Berlin market sits between two main streets, and is filled with festive shops and stands.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter @tonypaul1984