Dutch shooting: Utrecht police arrest suspect after three killed

Gokmen Tanis
Police released this image of Gokmen Tanis

A man has been arrested after three people were killed and five wounded, some seriously, in a shooting on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

Gokmen Tanis, a 37-year-old born in Turkey, was found several hours after the attack in a building about two miles (3km) from the scene.

Authorities said the attacker’s motive was unclear.

Police raided several properties and arrested two others in connection with the incident, Dutch media reported.

The shooting sparked a city-wide manhunt and the closure of schools.

What happened on Monday?

At about 10:45 local time (09:45 GMT), police were called to reports of a shooting on board one of the city’s trams at the 24 Oktoberplein junction.

One witness told local media that “a man started shooting wildly”. Several of the injured were said to be in a critical condition.

Another witness told Dutch public broadcaster NOS that he had helped an injured woman when the tram came to an emergency stop.

“I looked behind me and saw someone lying there behind the tram,” he said. “People got out of their cars… and they started to lift her up.

“I helped to pull her out and then I saw a gunman run towards us, with his gun raised,” he said. “I heard people yell ‘Shooter! Shooter!’ and I started to run.”

The gunman then fled the scene, leading to the manhunt which lasted for much of Monday.

Map of Utrecht shooting 18 March 2019
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Schools were closed and security was increased at airports and mosques while counter-terrorism police worked to locate the suspect.

A photograph of him was posted on social media by police, who warned people against approaching him.

A number of raids were reportedly carried out and counter-terrorism officers were pictured patrolling the streets near to where the attack happened. Police surrounded a building not far from the scene of the attack and arrested Mr Tanis on Monday evening.

What do we know about the suspect?

Police said the shooting appeared to be a terrorist incident but, at a press conference on Monday evening, a prosecutor said it could have been motivated by “family reasons”.

Mr Tanis was known to Dutch police, the prosecutor added.

What’s the reaction been?

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the country had been “jolted by an attack”, which he described as “deeply disturbing”.

“There are many questions and rumours,” he said. “It is unclear what the motives are behind this attack.”

He said local elections would go ahead as planned on Wednesday but flags would be flown at half-mast.

Leaders from around the world, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, offered their condolences.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU “stands side by side with the Netherlands and its people during these difficult times.”

The threat level in Utrecht was reduced following the arrest. It had earlier been raised to its highest level and paramilitary police posted to airports and mosques. Utrecht University closed all its buildings and trains were not allowed to run into the city’s central station.

Utrecht, the Netherlands’ fourth largest city, has a population of about 340,000. Crime levels are low and gun killings are rare, which is the case for much of the country.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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