DEVELOPING STORY: Turkish-born suspect at large, three dead at Utrecht tram shooting

EPA-EFE/ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN

Armed police at the scene where a shooting took place at the 24 Oktoberplace in Utrecht, The Netherlands, 18 March 2019. According to the the Dutch Police, several people have been injured in a shooting on a tram in the central Dutch city of Utrecht.

DEVELOPING STORY: Turkish-born suspect at large, three dead at Utrecht tram shooting


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At least three people have been pronounced dead and nine injured after a shooting inside a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht, authorities have confirmed.

Dutch law enforcement officials, the shooter – identified by eyewitnesses as being male – remains at large. According to an update by the Utrecht police, the main suspect is a 37-year-old who was born in Turkey, Gökmen Tanis.

The authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the attack may have been perpetrated by extremists or terrorists.

The Municipality of Utrecht issued a statement as a first reaction to the event, where the shooting is descrived as “a horrible and radical incident in which victims have fallen”. Mayor Jan van Zanen has confirmed that three people have been killed and nine others wounded on video released by the Municipality. Van Zanen remains in close contact with the police and the public prosecutor.

“The most important thing at the moment is taking care of the wounded and investigating the circumstances of the incident. We do not exclude anything, not even a terrorist attack,” added van Zanen.

Rutte: “Our rule of law and democracy is stronger than violence”

“Our country is currently startled by an attack in Utrecht,” the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at a press conference on Monday afternoon. “An act of terror is an attack on our open and tolerant society. If it is an act of terror, there is only one answer: our rule of law and democracy is stronger than violence. We will not give way to intolerance and violence. Never.”

Dutch Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus called on everyone to follow the instructions of the authorities carefully. “Be fully alert to yourself and your environment. But also stay calm.”

As for the perpetrator chase of the authorities,”we do everything in our power to find the perpetrator or perpetrators,” underlined Rutte, by saying that this is at the moment the “absolute priority”.

The European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has been in contact with Rutte after the shooting incident.

 

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